We are not talking about the measly money spent on stuff so far -- like $250,000 in national TV advertising time for a border security spot, according to iSpot.tv. We are talking big bucks. He’s a billionaire, no?
If his supporters watch, they’ll listen. Odds are that half will retain what he says; the other half will ignore him and still support him.
So half of Trump advertising will go to waste, which will confirm the old adage (re: U.S. merchant John Wanamaker) about advertising: “The trouble is, I don't know which half.”
Trump’s public speaking -- the rallies, the interviews with some networks -- is having middling effect. Marketing executives would say telling the flock “finish the wall” is a big reach in the credibility department.
But advertising? Perhaps video in the TV commercial showing actual construction of some fencing might work. ISIS is defeated? Show some revolutionary types with heavy beards being escorted at gunpoint with their hands held high.
Trump’s advertising history is spotty.
During the presidential campaign, Trump -- and his associated political action committees -- spent way less than many anticipated, around $340 million, including $66 million out of his own pocket. This was less than Hillary Clinton’s $581 million. And yet he won.
In part, Trump made up ground because he was a dramatic public chatterbox to anyone who would listen. Lots of loaded words, promises, misinformation, half-truths and outright lies. That is what sells sometimes.
But now, there’s confusion.
When asked about conservative commentator Ann Coulter, Trump said recently: “Ann Coulter -- I don’t know her. I hardly know her. I haven’t spoken to her in way over a year. But the press loves saying Ann Coulter."
You don’t know, or hardly know her? Those are two separate things for many people.
For a long time, we've seen Trump’s big earned media numbers -- press interviews, conferences, campaign rallies before and after the election.
Now Trump keeps repeating the same stuff. Bad deals are “terrible,” the media is “dishonest,” and the system is “broken.” Over and over. He needs better creative. And perhaps a new media plan.
The act is getting thin. Running slick TV advertising could show how he has gained supporters -- those who didn’t vote for him the past, but might in 2020.
A new voice in ad campaign -- a nurse, a doctor, some construction worker -- could offer up some good spin. A slick, creative agency -- without the desperation of past paid TV marketing -- could have a chance.
Then again, maybe some fringe social media disruptors and instigators have a better advertising plan for the next year and a half.
Russia, if you’re listening...