Wednesday, November 7, 2018

I couldn't watch.

I turned off the television at 8:30 last night, around the same time I turned off in November 2016, when it became clear to me that Trump had defeated Hillary Clinton.

But I was wrong.

The Democrats, thank sanity, retook the House of Representatives. 

I worry, deeply, however, about the future of our country. And some of that has to do with the Democrat's inability to understand the pain that much of the country is suffering from.

I've pasted an ad above done by Mike Tesch at Carl Ally in 1967. I've put it there because, to my mind, it shows how marketers--50 years ago--understood the woes facing the business traveler. They understood and they had empathy. They showed they cared.

The same goes for this ad, written by Ed McCabe at Scali McCabe Sloves--also about 50 years ago.

Again, the ad shows that Volvo, the brand, understands the throes of the modern car buyer.

In marketing today, we see no such empathy. No understanding of people and their pains. No, here's a word for you, love of humanity.

I worry about our democracy and the Democratic party. I heard nothing this campaign cycle about pain. About the vanishing middle-class, about the forgotten person at the bottom of the economic pyramid. About the hardship of living paycheck to paycheck--and feeling that your life is being lived while navigating a tight-rope.

We have forgotten in advertising, in our embrace of personas, real people. Real pain. Real tears. And real caring.

The Democrats have forgotten, too.

And Trump is a crafty marketer who has figured out how to  touch these people.

The Democrats, and marketers, had better rediscover how to talk to humans. Or those who know how to reach them--in an evil and visceral way--will, unfortunately, prevail.
Would FDR's second Inaugural "play" today? Would it move people and resonate?

I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.

But it is not in despair that I paint you that picture. I paint it for you in hope—because the nation, seeing and understanding the injustice in it, proposes to paint it out. We are determined to make every American citizen the subject of his country’s interest and concern; and we will never regard any faithful law-abiding group within our borders as superfluous. The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.

BTW, if I hear one more political strategist say "Democrats won the white suburban voters they needed to win," I think I'll throw a brick through some window somewhere.

No white suburban voter regards themselves as a white suburban voter. They see trillion dollar debt, tax cuts for the 1% of the 1%, a failing public education system, a rapacious set of republicans looking to raid social welfare programs, no affordable healthcare, rising seas, children in cages.

Campaigns, political and marketing, have strategists. What they no longer have is humanists. People who care about peoples' lives.

That's why campaigns, political and marketing, seem so irrelevant to so many.


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