These are the times that try marketers’ souls

Love the new president’s policies or hate them, many marketers are facing a conundrum: How to reconcile their future marketing campaigns with the stark reality of what we’re seeing unfold before our very eyes.

trump-nuts-hed-2017Does one bury one’s head in the sand and pretend it’s business as usual? Do pro-Trump brands aggressively underscore their ‘America First’ commitment to making products and hiring people? And, what about the countless purpose-driven organizations who have drawn a line in the sand, created a higher reason for their existence and support diversity and inclusiveness in everything they say and do?

AdWeek just ran a fascinating ad from a Lebanese nut-maker (no pun intended) that read, “The world’s gone nuts!” The CMO justified the bold message by saying that’s exactly how his target audience feels about Mr. Trump’s election. That makes sense to me since listening to, and engaging with, one’s audience is paramount to marketing success.

But what about here, in this incredibly divided country of ours? What’s a poor CMO to do?

Seeking advice, I turned to perhaps the finest journalist/influencer in the marketing world today: Stuart Elliott.

We’re Twitter buds, so I asked Stuart how American marketers will act, and react, in our new fake news, post truth Trumpland. His response: “Brands that have had pro-social campaigns in recent years are likely to run inclusive ads.”

That not only made perfect sense, it was also music to my ears.

As Thomas Paine might have written, “Now is not the time for sunshine marketers to turn a blind eye.”

I’d like to believe that, as Stuart suggested, purpose-driven, socially-conscious marketers WILL stick to their guns (Sorry. Poor word selection on my part).

Make no mistake that marketers whose campaigns anger Trump are very likely to engender the same kind of excoriation he’s meted out to the mainstream press, Alec Baldwin, Meryl Streep and so many others.

For conservative marketers who sell to the ‘base’, these are the best of times. But, for marketers who sell to all races, creeds and colors, it’s go time.

Do they fold up their moral and ethical tents and go home? Or, do they continue to follow their organization’s purpose and risk possible sanctions from the now “swampless” Beltway?

How marketers respond today will most certainly be remembered tomorrow.




3 thoughts on “These are the times that try marketers’ souls

  1. Thank for the feedback. I agree the best marketers will stick to their core values and continue to advocate for what they, and their organizations, stand for (regardless of the negative Trump Tweets they may engender)….

  2. Like Trump suggested to the African American community, “Why not vote for me? What have you got to loose?”. Staying neutral in a divided world can define you as the weak, irrelevant outsider to both sides. Of course, in this new world of alternative facts, Al Rafai could easily get away with arguing they meant in; “The world has gone nuts.” as in; ‘the world is embracing nuts more than ever’. Unlike this administration, they didn’t do that, they stuck to the true meaning they intended, picked a side. And they have the integrity to fully own up to it. Something this administration is clearly void of.

  3. Great discussion topic, Repman. I was wondering if at some point, as with other presidents before him, Trump would fade some into the background, allowing the world to get on with itself. That would allow marketers to return to business as usual. Alternatively, if Trump persists in being a daily spectacle (sorry, I simply don’t know how else to characterize it), marketers may decide to do what they think is right for the brand and damn the torpedoes.