The Unexpected Hits You Between The Eyes?

Beyond the braying and braggadocio, and like it or not, Donald Trump’s win was a victory for authenticity.

And that should be a reminder to us all.

Yes, he said something awful things.

And it appears that he has done some awful things.

It may even be that he plans to do some more awful things, now that he is, to all intents and purposes, the Leader (Elect) Of The Free World.

Say what you like about him, but one thing is for sure: he doesn’t pretend to be something he’s not.

Contrast that with his erstwhile opponent.

Hilary Clinton launched her campaign with a short film (now no longer available, interestingly) that was squarely, one might even say cynically, aimed at showing empathy with ‘regular Americans’, particularly women.

So far, grist to the mill – the classic political video.

But then we cut to the accomplished former Senator and First Lady, and she begins to speak, setting the tone for the rest of her long, arduous campaign:

‘the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top.
Everyday Americans need a champion; and I want to be that champion.’

Errr….what?

Hillary Clinton is a graduate of Yale. She is a lawyer. She is a former First Lady of the state of Arkansas and of the United States. She is a former Senator for New York, and until 2013 was the most senior diplomat in the world, bar none. She and her husband are millionaires and their daughter Chelsea lives in a $10m apartment in Manhattan.

I don’t begrudge them any of that. Nor would I describe myself as a Trump supporter.

My point is non-partisan, and it is this:

Americans are not stupid.

They know what everyday life in America is like. They know what ‘Everyday Americans’ are like.

And they are not like Hillary Clinton.

This able, seriously experienced and accomplished stateswoman had a huge amount to offer the land of the free.

But being ‘ordinary’, or even ‘champion of the ordinary’, was not one of them.

Hillary Clinton is smart, and incredibly sophisticated. She should have celebrated that, been honest about it; authentic.

We all know – supposedly – about the importance of authenticity.

It’s been part of the bullshit-bingo in agency-land for some time.

Even six years ago, on writing a piece for the US Huffington Post about authenticity, I was sufficiently worried that the word strayed far enough into cliché territory that I made a clumsy attempt to aim-off for it.

I needn’t have bothered.

Today, no conference or client-agency ‘strategy session’ is complete without someone uttering the A-word, with due drama and all the associated pensive twiddling of a well-waxed Shoreditch moustache.

‘Authenticity’ has indisputably entered the lexicon of our industry. And with reason – ubiquity does not equal redundancy, after all.

And yet we don’t take our own medicine.

If we did, in the ‘echo chamber’ of our social media networks marketeers could – of course – continue to profess that they are filled with remorse, regret and trepidation; indeed any other type of emotion one might care to associate with a Trump presidency.

Except for surprise.

Nick Jefferson is a partner with Monticello