Why Trump isn’t the real thing
I have just returned from the USA, and while I must not generalise or take a small sample, it would appear that Trump is not doing too well in the popularity stakes.
“Trump is bad”, said my five-year old niece from the back of my American cousin’s Toyota. And the message was similar all over the news. ‘What will he do next?’ was the underlying message in most of the newscasts. I didn’t hear one positive piece of reporting. It literally was like Trump is living his own Spitting Image world. I bet those puppeteers wish they were in broadcast today. He is ten times more exciting than Thatcher, Hattersley or any of their other old favourites. Our Creative Director, Dan Fagg says, “He’s in the entertainment business, and this is getting more and more entertaining”.
On considering Trump, my mind naturally wandered to brand and how we could compare his rapid demise to a brand failure. Trump is a brand man himself, but let’s ignore him for now and cast our minds back to Dasani – the failed Coca Cola water launch in the UK.
Coca Cola thought they could launch a water on the UK market because they were well, Coca Cola. But the Brits don’t just take things for granted. And when The Grocer reported that Dasani was basically our own tap water, but filtered, we dropped it like a water bomb… only days after its launch. And weeks later it was off the shelves, replaced by what we actually wanted – water from glaciers, water that was different from tap water. Water that made us feel good.
And that, I think is where Trump is struggling. Launching a campaign with ‘Make America Great Again’ assumes a couple of things – that America was great before, and that people want the old America back. You could also argue that America was doing pretty well without him.
And my experience of America this time round is that many do not want it back. At least the more open, more worldy-wise people do not want the old America back. It’s the older stuck-in-their ways Americans who want to make it great again, and some of those people are losing faith too.
With such a narrow margin in your audience you really cannot afford not to deliver fast. And you certainly cannot deliver false promises. But more importantly, you cannot pull the wool over the eyes of a more sophisticated generation.
America’s younger audience is no longer listening to their elders telling them to pledge allegiance to the flag, that America is great, that they are the best and everything is awesome. They are talking to each other, they are talking to the world on social media and they are wanting to go and see that world for themselves, while they formulate their own opinions.
America, you now have your American Idiot and your young and powerful population is seeing right through that. Trump is moving your country backwards, while the generation with the most power is moving forwards.
And that is why Trump is is failing. Like Dasani, he is delivering what you already had on tap. And your cleverer people are seeing right through that.