Fear sells. Anger motivates. In "Fear Sells," episode one of the DeVito/Verdi podcast "Selling a President 2020," host Ellis Verdi and some of the most creative minds in advertising look at the marketing phenomenon that is Donald Trump.
As he showed in 2016, candidate Trump appealed to voters with ads and speeches that more or less preyed on people’s fears and stoked their anger. As he pushes for re-election, we discuss how his marketing is so on brand, how it has created such an intensely loyal following and why anger, fear and rage are so effective in the selling of a President, 2020.
Transcript Episode One "Fear Sells"
GREG [00:00:00] I think what people understand is how much Trump's behaviors are on brand. Right. So if he slept with your wife, that is completely on his brand in that it only supports him.
ELLIS [00:00:16] Forget the stump speech the whistle stops and the kissing of babies. A candidate gets elected today largely through his or her advertising. On November 3rd, America will go to the voting booths and select the next president of the United States. Tens of millions of dollars will have been spent on selling the candidates to the country. Advertising's outsized role in the packaging of a president is what this podcast is all about. I thought it would be a fun idea to gather, some of the creative minds of advertising, along with some younger creative directors and political pros to play judge and jury with today's presidential political advertising. I'm Ellis Verdi and this is Selling a President 2020. We're not concerned with Right or Left, urban or rural, deplorable or elitist. Our attention is on how the candidates are making their pitch to the American public. After all, Election Day is democracy's one day sale. As we say in advertising,
ELLIS [00:01:16] Fear sells, anger motivates. This episode. we'll take a look at how the president's marketing is so on brand, how it has created such an intensely loyal following and why anger, fear and rage are so effective in the selling of a president in 2020. Donald Trump is not the first to employ fear mongering in his appeal to voters or distort facts to discredit opponents and burnish his own image. But it clearly feels different this time around. This is Season 1, episode 1. “Fear Sells.”
STUART [00:01:50] It used to be that if you were running negative advertising, you would least mix in some positive advertising to dull the idea that you are a son of a bitch.
ELLIS [00:02:00] Famed New York Times advertising columnist Stuart Elliott.
STUART [00:02:05] Is that out the window now? Because Trump is just always on the attack. He's always angry and he's always attacking. And if there's nothing to attack, he'll make something up.
LEE [00:02:13] Now, I think that the scary thing for me now, is you would count on facts and statistics to sway people's opinions. Obviously, you have to present them in a way that's interesting.
ELLIS [00:02:25] Advertising legend Lee Garfinkel
LEE [00:02:27] But I think four years ago the idea of facts became less relevant or rational thinking became less relevant. And so there's a big question mark for me right now is how does any candidate go forward and try to break through and actually change people's opinions, knowing that facts may not be the thing that separates you from the other guy?
GREG [00:02:50] It's emotion. The biggest drivers in behavior are anger and fear in political circles. Chief Creative Officer, BBDO New York. Greg Hahn. So Trump's whole message is going to take something away from you or they're out to get you. And that's just a really powerful emotion. No matter what facts or policy underlying that or counter that, it doesn't matter because he's saying they're going to be something's going to be taken from me. So he really plays up the driving emotion where, you know, he gets that some of the other people are more rational, more fact based. It doesn't matter. Like you're not listening.