Friday, February 11, 2005

Donald Trump and Mentally Correct Marketing


"what the sea cucumber said to the soup" (Copyright 2005 Steven Streight. Created in Paint Shop Pro 7.) Posted by Hello

Donald Trump and Mentally Correct Marketing

By now, everybody's buzzing about last night's episode of The Apprentice, the reality television show on NBC.

The Apprentice features Donald Trump, marketing and business operations project assignments, and a bunch of losers who try to act managerial and intelligent.

For a great recap of The Apprentice Dove Commercial episode, and a brilliantly short and coherent URL query string attached to it (other web masters please take note, especially online newspapers), please rush over right now (I'll wait for you to read and then return to this blog) to:


When the two slacker project teams tried to put together a tv commercial for new Dove Cool Moisture Body Wash, they failed, predictably, miserably.

Donny Deutsch said they had to be crazy to make commercials that stupid.

Cucumbers, token gay lovers (admittedly based on "Will & Grace" which does NOT portray the reality of most gay men, who don't hang all over women like they're hetero coupling), street race runners, sweat and towels.

In one "commercial," I thought I was watching the Subhuman Special Olympics Parody on Saturday Night Live or Mr. Show.

In the other "commercial," I thought I was in dilapidated dork brothel, or some no-budget, no-imagination, satirical, wanker-core porn movie set.

Here's what the NBC recap states:

The first thing out of Donny's mouth was the team can't wear goofy outfits and be taken seriously.

So Donny made them take off their hats. Then Donny and the two managing partners watched Magna's commercial.

Donny shook his head, but made no comment. He thanked the team and sent them out. Next, Net Worth presented their commercial. Donny thanked the group and sent them out.

Donny started the discussion with his two managing partners by saying that he was really disappointed. He thought that both commercials were "silly", "stupid" and "off". Both executives agreed.

One said that the choice was between a disgusting commercial where a sweaty runner rubs on body wash without using any water and a semi-porn piece.

Donny brought both teams back into the conference room and got Trump on the line. Donny pulled no punches and said that both teams "missed big." He had to tell Trump that there was no winner - an Apprentice first!

So, Trump responded with his own first and said that both teams would return to the boardroom to face him and someone would be fired.

Such wretchedly awful advertising and marketing incompetence!

The likes of which neither Dons had ever seen before.

And yet...forgive me for being so hard on the project teams. They had no experience in advertising or television. Why did anyone think they could avoid a total disaster?

This "make a tv commercial for Dove" was really just a "3D" publicity stunt: for Dove, Deutsch, and the Donald.

The worst commercial was the Deutsch spot. They are a real ad agency. And they still blew it bad.

You can't sell soap with dancing, smiling, and Miss Piggy.

What's so hard about advertising?

We're all experts at it, since we have consumed millions of radio and televison commercials,print ads, and junk mail since babyhood.

We have all formed opinions and discussed commercials with friends and co-workers. Those slackers on The Apprentice should have not been utterly clueless dolts.

No one had the guts to say, "This sucks. We cannot go through with this. We'd be better off doing nothing and apologizing, than doing something this brain dead."

I used to turn the volume OFF on the tv programs, and ON during commercials, when I was in my 20s and trying to study advertising. An ex-girlfriend named Molly can vouch for this, and she still giggles about it.

The Apprentice aired the actual Dove commercial produced by the ad agency, and I have to speak my mind here again: it sucked too.

Very trite, unimaginative, pointless.

Was that Miss Piggy? Who cares about Sesame Street or whatever Miss Piggy stars in?

This commercial contains no solid, problem-solving or benefit-providing message, no dramatized reason to buy the Dove product, and I would not have signed off on it.

Here's what I posted on the "Ad Rants" ( blog site:

Deutsch should have dramatized dry, rough, itchy skin. Seth Godin says you have to explain the problem to most consumers before you can offer the solution and make the solution attractive. I agree. There are lots of ways to dramatize what it is that the Dove Cool Moisture Body Wash provides as a benefit. But too many pseudo-ad types think: "Let's have fun with the product. Let's have people dancing and smiling. Let's show happiness and imply that the product ultimately enhances happiness." So the problem and the product's unique solution get lost in the haze of stupid theatrics, music, costumes, Miss Piggy, and other brain dead idiot ideas--in the name of "fun."

How To Produce an Advertising Concept

Just look at the product.

Look at the problem it solves.

Look at the benefit it provides.

Think about why people need
that solution or benefit.

Think about what it's like
to NOT have that
solution or benefit.

Think of a good way to convey how
the product solves the problem
or how it provides a benefit...

...and why this product
is ideal and necessary NOW.

[That's the hard, but fun part.]

Streight Site Systems
Mentally Correct Marketing Version of a
Dove Cool Moisture Body Wash commercial

Take One:

A guy takes a gal on a date.

Everything is romantic and wonderful.

He goes to brush a crumb off her bare arm.

His hand starts bleeding, scraped by the rough skin.

He looks in shock and horrror as the gal begins
to turn into a Sandpaper & Barbed Wire Monster.

He runs for his life, dripping blood.

Dove Moisturizing Body Wash.
Antidote to dangerously dry skin.
Soften YOUR world...with Dove.


You could do all sorts of things
to dramatize dry skin.

Criminally dry skin.

Monstrously dry skin.

Embarrassingly itchy dry skin.

Dry skin that itches at
inopportune moments.

That's it.

Dove will have to pay me
to learn more.

My wife had an even better idea
for the commercial, but it'll
cost you to hear it, Dove.

BTW, Dove shampoo, conditioner,
and shower gel liquid soap stuff
are incredible.

I highly recommend
all Dove products.

Now if only somebody would do
some astonishingly smart and
effective television commercials.

Like EarthLink.

Like that financial company
(Edward Jones, I think)
commercial where the therapist
speaks a foreign language to
the mental problem "client".

(It must not be that good,
however, if I can't recall
the company name, some broker?)

Donald Trump:

"Mediocrity is always
due to laziness,
the refusal to go
the extra mile."

1 comment:

Toby said...

Steven -

Didn't see the program, but not in your excellent analysis or the NBC recap was there a mention that Donald's Dahlings considered the target audience. Dahaa!

But what a great lesson for us marketers. Cute and clever does not replace understanding your customers; and then (and only then) can you develop communication strategies.