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The Latest from “Bear in the Woods”

Monday, June 8, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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Our favorite anonymous ad man e-mails:

I get quite a few letters at bearinthewoods84@gmail.com when I write a piece here. There’s frequently more than I can answer quickly and completely, so I apologize to those readers who don’t get a response right away. I do still have a day job, and, honestly, as behind as we all think the GOP is in all the facets of new media and marketing, I can report with authority that many mainstream consumer advertisers aren’t that much further ahead. I have my work cut out for me. The only difference I can truly see is that there is a real market for top level creative marketing with a thorough understanding of new media when it relates to consumer products. In political circles, though, that market is hard to find — on the Right. The Left has it. But I don’t sing that tune. Once the Right – or at least the budget-makers on the right – understand that a deep knowledge of branding, popular culture, and emotionally engaging messaging is required on top of an understanding of new media tools, perhaps that market will develop. I’m keeping an eye out for opportunities. For now, though, I remain a regular ad guy.

I’ve written a lot here about the need for an encompassing mantra that can accommodate the range of conservative positions, yet at the same time speak to individual, single issue niches. Looking at the creative from a purely analytical viewpoint, that was the beauty of “Change.” It had different meaning for each of a wide range of audiences, yet was capable of encompassing any and every position the campaign wanted to take.

While the GOP struggles to define positions and directions, a significant groundswell of conservatives and moderates has begun to build in opposition to many of the Administration’s policies and actions. Conservative commentators, on the air and on the web, have stepped in to fill the leadership void left by a slow-to-action GOP, and that has helped to coalesce something of a movement, but the movement is still in need of a mantra that works.

A couple of months ago, I got to thinking that “Truth” was an interesting position to take, especially in light of specific Administration actions. I wrote about it here. Link: http://tinyurl.com/ajd6rn Like all creative thoughts, though, I have to admit there are some hurdles with this one. First, I don’t think “Truth” would be effective if applied to opinion, and clearly, if adopted, it would be. Secondly, I believe the Left sees more than one “truth,” which although inconsistent with the actual definition of the word, is what it is, and weakens its use as a mantra. So I’ve been mulling. And more importantly, reading, the letters that are written to me.

Ira Besserman, a “closet conservative in Hollywood,” I think, has hit upon a mantra that works. In his letter to me, he talked about how Liberals are all about feelings, yet conservatives value reason, wisdom, and common sense. He suggested something along the lines of “More than a Feeling” as a mantra. Always the creative director, I saw something in his setup that resonated even better than his conclusion. He nailed it, I think, with “Common Sense.”

Common Sense speaks to reason, wisdom, and truth. Common Sense has broad appeal, and applies to conservative positions on every single policy. Common Sense tells us you can’t get out of debt by spending more, you can’t alienate achievers and hope to achieve, you can’t protect from a position of weakness, and you can’t improve the efficiency of anything by applying more government. Common Sense has strong roots in history, and is a strong statement of purpose for conservative values today. Common Sense makes sense, across the board.

So, let’s use it. Let’s use the phrase when we’re talking about our positions. Let’s use it on signs at Tea Parties, in headlines of blog posts, on the air, and in conversation. If we use it, we own it — and can apply it — to bring Common Sense back to a government that increasingly doesn’t seem to make any sense at all.

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