So far, the presidential race is being won and lost on emotions. It’s like who can get Americans the most stirred up. The candidates who are most effective are sparking emotions that have gasoline on them; and the audiences are so stirred up, they aren’t using their heads.
When the Democratic race became tight, Hillary’s team was accused of not having taken Bernie Sanders seriously. But Hillary’s problem wasn’t Bernie, per se; it was –– marketing-wise –– her lack of attention to her target. Bernie, understanding their deep-down frustration, just struck a chord with the audience, got them fired up and tapped into an idealism that most people felt had been buried.
It’s not so different with the Republicans. The contenders didn’t know how to discredit Trump, which shouldn’t be difficult, given that he doesn’t address the issues so much as he riles people up about injustices. But it’s not a reasonable contest. Millions of people have attributed him with virtues and principles that he clearly doesn’t have. So how do you bury the guy? In the New York Times, Ross Douthat wrote this:
"…don’t tell people that he (Trump) doesn’t know the difference between Kurds and the Quds Force. (They don’t either!) Tell people that he isn’t the incredible self-made genius that he plays on TV. Tell them about all the money he inherited from his daddy. Tell them about the bailouts that saved him from ruin. Tell them about all his cratered companies. Then find people who suffered from those fiascos –– workers laid off following his bankruptcies, homeowners
who bought through Trump Mortgage, people who ponied up for sham degrees from Trump University."
In other words, if Trump followers are feeling angered and ennobled, make them feel duped, as if he is some used car salesman pulling one over on them. Expose him as a con artist, a sleezeball who’s former advisor, after all, had ties to the mafia. Target the emotion. Identify it in the brief. Did you know that neuroscience tells us that it is emotions that change our minds? So don’t start with the issues or the ideas or the RTP. Attack the brand.
Pleeease, someone, attack the brand.