Full disclosure: Mario Kart trending after Trump penis comparison

by Richard Rawlins

20th September, 2018

Ok – wait.  Don’t do that eye roll thing you do every time you read a Trump story and move on.

This is important: the leader of the free world’s penis is ‘like the mushroom character in Mario Kart’ so says pornographic actor Stormy Daniels in the Guardian (click here) as she promotes her book Full Disclosure.

Why is it important?  To be clear, the White House Willy isn’t important.  And let’s leave aside the really serious things like the fact that she fears for her life.  It’s important in communications strategy terms because it will do exactly nothing negative to his approval ratings amongst his base. In fact, the fact that he’s bedded a porn star will probably go down rather well.  With that knowledge he will shrug it off and continue to apply pressure on China in his ‘Art of the Deal’ style trade war.

If we set aside our personal view of Trump, his morals and even his politics and analyse his communications plan we can take some interesting lessons.  He’s re-written the comms playbook.  Gone is the anodyne soundbite and the carefully crafted statement.  He says what he thinks (well what he knows his supporters think) and he says it with unvarnished clarity.  He comes across as authentic and honest.  Most importantly he knows that he needs to appeal intensely to some of the American people, rather than appeal generally to all of them.

For too long our industry has tried to dance a line of making brands broadly popular.  The result is dull work which lacks clarity and focus.  When a crisis looms, corporations spend hours crafting a non-statement which they believe will let them off the hook.

At Finn we believe in Courageous Creativity.  That means that brands can piss off some people because it will appeal intensely to others.  Try and ignore Stormy Daniel’s description of the Presidential Penis if you can and take a look at the way he communicates.  Pinch your nose, we can learn a lot.

It’s time for brands to stand for something. When a crisis looms, confront it and be brutally honest.  Don’t plump for average for fear of pissing someone off.  Learn from Trump.

That said, next time I play Mario Kart I’m definitely going for Yoshi. I can never look at Toad the same way again…

Thinking about it – that guy needs some help.  Anyone got the number for his agent?


Richard Rawlins


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