Advertising Age reported that Hillary Clinton is likely tapping advertising executives—specifically, GSD&M Chairman Emeritus Roy Spence and Coca-Cola Marketing Executive and former GSD&M Director of Client Services Wendy Clark—to help craft messages for her potential presidential campaign.
Now, it’s not uncommon for politicians to employ adpeople to help persuade and woo voters. For example, Hal Riney hatched the iconic “Morning in America” commercial for Ronald Reagan in 1984. Ad Age opined the following:
Should Ms. Clinton run, her purpose would be to leverage her strengths as an experienced political pro with a large base of female support, while crafting a message that appeals to a wide swath of Americans tired of politics-as-usual. Ms. Clark, a political outsider who has worked on mass-marketed brands, might bring valuable experience to the table in that endeavor.
If Ad Age’s supposition is accurate, one has to wonder about Clinton’s initial choices from adland, especially in regards to the goal of concocting “a message that appeals to a wide swath of Americans…” Sorry, but the overwhelming majority of White advertising executives are culturally clueless, rendering them incapable of effectively and honestly addressing the true, diverse American public.
Consider the fact that Spence masterminded the inane “3 a.m.” commercial during Clinton’s 2008 bid for the Democratic nomination. The spot received lots of criticism and ridicule—and most importantly, it failed to move Clinton ahead of Barack Obama. Additionally, Spence is among those wonderful folks who gave you Annie the Chicken Queen for Popeyes. In short, GSD&M is hardly the home of inclusive, enlightened thinkers, which makes enlisting Spence and Clark a pretty risky and probably reckless decision.
This isn’t the first time MultiCultClassics has wondered about the use of advertising executives as political strategists and executioners. Indeed, do representatives of an industry that continues to make diversity a dream deferred and denied deserve to service a presidential candidate? If Clinton really wants to speak to “Americans tired of politics-as-usual,” she ought to reconsider business as usual with modern Mad Men and Mad Women.