Brands in the News

A Stunning Spot from Ron DeSantis

11 Nov 2022  

The midterm elections are behind us, and the expected red wave fizzled out as voters punished the Republicans for limiting a woman’s right to choose. Conservatives hoping to get elected in many parts of the country need to figure out how to communicate a reasonable approach on that issue.

The focus now shifts to the 2024 presidential contest. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has opened things up with a stunning piece of advertising.

Last Friday, his campaigned released a new commercial: God Made a Fighter. If you haven’t seen it, take a look at this spot.

Stunning

This is a remarkable piece of advertising. It is unique in its bold suggestion that God created Ron DeSantis to be a political leader. DeSantis didn’t get there on his own, he didn’t fight and struggle, he was chosen by God.

Chosen by God?

Really?

The sheer hubris and arrogance of this spot is breathtaking.

The Impact

Equally amazing is just how well the spot works. It is a brilliant piece of film and brand positioning.

First, it grabs your attention and breaks through the clutter. In a sea of political ads, this one stands out. Part of this comes from its connection to conservative radio commentator Paul Harvey’s ode to the agrarian life with his famous speech “God made a farmer.” Ram used it a few years back in a Super Bowl spot.

Second, it communicates a benefit. Ron DeSantis? He fights for families and communities.

Third, it blends imagery and logic. The spot taps into some factual proof points, such as DeSantis keeping schools open during the pandemic. It also draws on emotion with scenes of families, police officers and first responders.

The Strategy

A great brand is built on a tight positioning. Ron DeSantis has one. He is clearly targeting conservative votes; there isn’t much in this spot for liberals. There is nothing here about the environment or choice or inclusion. DeSantis has a clear frame of reference. Like Donald Trump, he is a strong, arrogant leader who champions conservative values.

The differentiating benefit? DeSantis can beat Joe Biden. He is an electable candidate: he is less polarizing than Trump. He doesn’t constantly talk about stolen elections. He isn’t overtly crazy.

Of course, DeSantis has to move fast to stop Trump from seeming like the inevitable nominee. Releasing this spot at this moment is a smart move; it will get people talking and frame the Republican primary battle as a two-person race. The mixed success of Trump’s candidates in the mid-term election makes his coronation less certain. There is reason for Republican voters to consider alternatives.

DeSantis took a big risk with this spot, but it sets him up well.

Get ready for a spicy primary battle.


2 Responses

  1. David Brown says:

    This started off as something that could have turned out to be a very funny SNL skit, interrupted by God coming in to have a little talk with Ron saying, “Ummm…no I didn’t.” Instead, as it continued and the more real it became, the scarier it got.

  2. I agree with your points about the effectiveness of the spot for the target market. And yet, it still made me shudder.

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