Trial Balloon

Trial Balloon: February 12, 2009 Archive

Too Many Lincolns

Posted at 5:24 AM on February 12, 2009 by Dale Connelly (31 Comments)

Here's a memo from marketing guru Spin Williams, who is always at the meeting that never ends:

I'm really jazzed about where our country is going right now.
And I don't mean where it appears to be going, which is into the dumper, but where it is really going, which, I think, is back to global numero uno, nation-wise.
But there's one big adjustment that should be made.
It's branding. We have got to get our national branding under control.
Freedom and liberty, for example. I love 'em both, but in focus groups, they test as being the same. We need to really develop just one, so our external and internal audiences don't get confused over who we are!

And what about Lincoln? It's his birthday. Two hundred today.
I'm a huge Lincoln fan, but his brand is all messed up!

Is he Honest Abe, Father Abraham, or the Great Emancipator?
Is he a good hearted country bumpkin or the greatest man who ever lived?
A sad sufferer or 1860's own King of Comedy?

And how about his graphic identity?
We seem to all be on the same page with the hangdog, homely look, but is he bearded or clean-shaven? Pants too short or hat too tall?
I'm seeing all kinds of Lincolns out there. Too many.

And every day it gets worse. There are historians flooding the market with books trying to tell us how complicated Lincoln was. Complicated? Please!
Americans like simplicity!
Good thing they don't read much or they'd be totally confused!

Here's my pitch. Let's have one Lincoln. I don't care which one, but The Great Emancipator is my favorite. And I can't see him without a beard and that stovepipe hat. In fact, the hat is really crucial. Our market saturation surveys show that when you mention Lincoln, people always think of the tall hat even though you don't see it on any of our important national monuments. That's what I mean by brand confusion!

So as long as we're about to fund some gigantic public works programs, how about adding two key projects to support our national marketing goals ... get a hat on the guy in the Lincoln Memorial, and for heaven's sake, let's put one on Mount Rushmore, too! He's outside, for crying out loud! Think of the jobs that would be created by putting a stovepipe hat on the Rushmore Lincoln! That's a huge job, and we're just the people to do it! Let's give Abe a big birthday gift, and get serious about managing his brand!

Love, Peace and Marketing,

Spin Williams

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