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  • K O Jones

Trump is not a victory for emotionally led marketing

Originally published 2018

Can I just say how appalled I am by the sudden rush to praise Donald Trump for his marketing savvy.

Putting a ‘new communications strategy’ label on the last few months does not make it alright to be a lying, bigoted, xenophobic misogynist.

If you use hate to make your supporters feel better about themselves, you’re an old-fashioned demagogue.

Boris and Nigel used the same tactic during Brexit.

Can’t wait to see that £350m a week show up in the NHS. I’d like to think it will make up for the £66 billion a year the treasury say we’ll lose without access to the single market, but the maths is beyond me. How many zeros are there in a billion these days? Are we operating on American billion with nine noughts or the English billion with twelve? Who knows, or cares, since everyone disputes both figures anyway.

We’ve clearly reached a nexus where lying is fun. It’s even got its own word, ‘Post-truth’. In other words, facts and carefully considered arguments are, well, dull.

Is the future going to be a smorgasbord of emotionally-charged misinformation, fed to use via algorithms which amplify opinions we already hold?

We’re in the eye of a storm that has marketing at its cold dead heart. News isn’t news any more, it’s ‘content’.

‘Content’ doesn’t hold itself up to any standards. You don’t have to weigh up the truth with well reasoned arguments on all sides. The purpose of content is to entertain, not educate. Content looks like this:

“Heidi Klum.  Sadly, she’s no longer a 10.”
“When you are a star you can grab women “by the p***y … You can do anything”.
“It really doesn’t matter what they write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass” (Esquire)
“She is a dog who wrongfully comments on me.” (re Huffington Post editor Arianna Huffington.)
“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever” (re Megyn Kelly, of Fox News)
“If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?”

Jonathan Wald, executive producer of CNN Tonight, tweeted “In the end the ratings proved more accurate than the polls. People want to watch the Trump show.”

To my shame I watched it too. The sheer unadulterated gall of the man had me spitting out my earl grey tea in shock and amusement. Surely no woman could possibly vote for him?

Except they did.

I’m not amused any more.

I’ve been waking up all week with a feeling of dread, without quite knowing why, until it dawned on me. A few months from now the most powerful man in the world will be a reality TV star who lives in his own gold plated, pussy rich reality. One that doesn’t recognize global warming because ‘scientific experts’ are presumably boring.

Similarly, our own government is pursuing exit from the EU without a strategy or the necessary army of civil servants to make it happen, because, well that requires more ‘experts’ and … yawn…. they want to remain in Europe.

But perhaps I’m too wedded to the old Pre Post-truth truth? After all, if it’s just ‘marketing’, Mr Trump could be a perfectly reasonable man who said all those deplorable things just to get media attention. Boris could be a brilliant comedian who contradicts himself and his government for the same reason.

Neo-nationalism could simply be a short-term campaign strategy.

In which case ‘Make America great again’ and ‘Brexit means Brexit’ will soon be forgotten. Won’t they?

I doubt it. That’s their brand. Anti-establishment, anti-PC, anti-decency.

In a way it’s refreshing. It reminds me of the old ‘You’ve been Tango’d’ campaign, where that fat bald orange bloke slaps people round the head.

Which it is. Only with hair.

Strange, blonde gravity defying hair.


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