Presidential candidate Herman Cain says we’re wound too tight. We need to relax. It’s as central to Cain’s message as his 9-9-9 tax program. He is blissfully unconventional and unruffled by criticisms from homogenized traditionalists. He gives them fits.
Maybe that’s why his campaign tossed up this gem. As it sailed over their heads, all the tightly wound saw was a man smoking on TV (the horrors) and Cain’s so-called “creepy smile.” Watch it a couple of times. Do you get it?
Cain is playing. His intentions are serious, but he’s not going all grave and gravitas about it. As if to underscore the point, Cain practically gives us a get-the-joke wink at the end. He’s all about being who he is while sticking his thumb in the eye of conventional wisdom and laughing all the way to the media bank.
No way did the ad cost over $500 to produce. But, consider the ROI: free plays on Letterman (CBS), Kimmel (ABC), plus countless runs on CNN, Fox, MSNBC, and others. Cain’s campaign struck the mother lode of earned media by being themselves and having fun.
Playing is fun. It makes you happy. It drives competitors crazy. Case in point: Governor Perry unveiled a flat tax last week. What’s everyone talking about? Smoking. Creepy smile. Cain.
That’s a win for Cain and The Ten Be’s of Better Branding.