A New York Times poll shows Donald Trump leading President Joe Biden in five of six battleground states. While we shouldn't put too much stock in presidential polls a year before the 2024 election, to date Biden appears to be losing the marketing battle to an unapologetic huckster and would-be fascist dictator.
Biden's current marketing campaign is like watching advertisers on televised PGA tournaments. What do we see? Ads for luxury goods, financial services for the wealthy, and other upper crust offerings targeting the well-to-do with understated messages. Isn't that Biden? Understated despite an undeniable list of accomplishments benefiting middle class voters like those who reside in the aforementioned swing states.
Now flip the channel to pro wrestling, and that's Trump's marketing model. Over-the-top, loud, bawdy, but little in the way of substance and dishonest to boot since matches are scripted. Marketers know the wrestling audience too, so we see a barrage of noisy ads for fast food and pizza joints, big motorcycles, and action figures depicting your favorite wrestlers.
There's Biden's marketing conundrum in a nutshell; the steak is there, but the sizzle is missing, to invoke a threadbare marketing cliche.
Trump is the carnival barker profanely pushing fear and loathing to the delight of his followers. In contrast, Team Biden seems inclined to let his results speak for themselves. I watched one of Biden's low key campaign ads on MSNBC and given the network's left-leaning content, I thought to myself, talk about preaching to the choir. Those spots no doubt appear on rival right-leaning networks, but Trump and his media enablers have poisoned the well to the point where most of the audience dismisses Biden's messages as lies and any positive reports about the president as "fake news." Biden can send his surrogates to the Sunday morning news shows, but is the Trump crowd paying attention?
Understatement is not going to win the 2024 election for Biden. Maybe the marketing we're seeing today is analogous to softening up the beachhead with the big guns blasting away next fall. Certainly, Trump has handed Biden plenty of ammo: demonstrable evidence of his malfeasance, his immorality, his self-dealing and, yes, his criminality. In fact, Trump may well be a convicted felon by Election Day.
While I don't doubt his mental acuity and political instincts, when Biden touts the latest job growth numbers, for example, he instills little energy or excitement among voters. His handlers seem always to resort to optics they consider safe; Biden on some factory floor or awarding a medal or meeting with a championship sports team. To win next November, Team Biden must get out of its comfort zone and begin to think of creative ways to attract voters in those swing states.