Why I Love Donald Trump’s Slogan
Whether you like it or not, our view of the world will to certain extent be influenced by our profession. The economist will see life with some bias towards economics lens. The military guy will see current affairs through geopolitical power struggle lens. Me? I am just an advertising guy whose daily obsession is how to make people buy my client’s stuff. And I too will have a way when looking at the world, as my advertising background colors my lens.
Now, I am not an American, and I am not following closely the American presidential election. But as an advertising guy, I can’t help noticing candidates’ slogan. And regardless of my attitude towards Donald Trump as presidential candidate, I had to say I think his choice of slogan is clever. Now this could be the typical post-rationalization thing (it is always easier to explain a success than predicting one), I know, but I just want to explain why I love “Make America Great Again” (and its derivatives).
First, the slogan has a compelling structure:
MAKE AMERICA [INSERT POSITIVE ADJECTIVES HERE] AGAIN
I think the above structure is clever because in ONE sentence, it communicates several narratives:
- American was ONCE ideal, a better country than it is now. Just drop any positive word there: great, safe, strong, prosperous, peaceful, etc. Make America Great Again. Make America Safe Again. Make America Strong again. Make America Prosperous Again. Make America Work Again. Immediately it evoked nostalgia (whether it’s accurate or not), that America WAS great. America WAS safe. America WAS strong. America WAS prosperous, America USED TO work.
- NOW, America has LOST all those. It is in a sorry state, a mere shadow of the greatness it has been IN THE PAST.
- Donald Trump is the Messiah that will bring America back to its glory days, AGAIN.
Now it is hard to resist the above messages when you love your country, don’t you think? Who wants to disagree that their country was once awesome? Who isn’t hurt when told their country is now on decline? Who isn’t hopeful to the promise that their country will return again to its awesome status?
This is why I think on its own, Trump’s slogan is compelling. It conveys several narratives that will strike the patriotic chord of everyone – all in ONE, simple phrase.
On the other hand, I am struggling to remember Hillary Clinton’s slogan, that I have to google it as I write. What is it, really? Because it seems that Clinton’s side keeps changing its slogan. Is it “Fighting for Us”? But what does she fight for? Is it “Stronger Together”? A cliche phrase for unity – but compared to “Make America Great Again”, it does not provide strong drama, strong emotion, or strong urgency.
Again, this might be another post-rationalization in hindsight. But as an advertising guy, I have to give it to Donald Trump’s slogan.
Now if you’d excuse me, I have to return to my daily job helping clients sell their stuff to Indonesians. I need to ‘make myself productive again’…..