WPP Group CEO Martin Sorrell gave an off-handed, figurative slap in the head yesterday to Burson-Marsteller chief and pollster extraordinaire Mark Penn, who guided Hillary Clinton’s Presidential run.
Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, Sorrell talked about Barack Obama’s successful marriage of “old” and “new” media during his Presidential campaign. The Brit especially lauded Obama’s deployment of the Internet to organize supporters and generate cash via a mass vs. class strategy. He said there were reports that the people who forged Obama’s winning Internet strategy had first offered their services to Hillary Clinton’s campaign but were turned down. [subscribers, click for O'Dwyer's article on Sorrell's speech]
The Obama people adopted that `Net strategy, according to Sorrell, because they were hungrier, more aggressive and less complacent than Team Clinton. Ouch! This blogger felt the urge to bolt from his chair to defend the honor of the Clinton campaign. Second thoughts arrived with the realization that the Clinton campaign was a total disaster. Sir Martin had nailed it.
Penn resigned as chief strategist of the Clinton campaign in April after reports surfaced that he had counseled Colombia, B-M’s client, on ways to land a free trade pact that the New York Senator opposed. The B-M boss told the Independent that he accepts a share of responsibility for Clinton’s loss. “I’ve won a lot of other campaigns and I hope to win a lot more in the future, but I take it on the chin for [this one]. It happens to me, it happens to everybody….You win some, you lose some.”
That’s very true. Even a .300 hitter in baseball is out seven of ten times at bat. But Penn was pitched a meatball and was expected to sock it out of the ballpark. Hillary’s election was supposed to be a shoo-in and her inauguration a coronation.
Clinton was clobbered by a guy who was in the Springfield state house four years ago.
It’s unlikely that 61-year-old Clinton will turn to Penn eight years from now.