By Raynard Jackson (NNPA Newswire Columnist)
Every time I think the Republican National Committee (RNC) has bottomed out in its inability to properly engage with the Black community, they seem to find new ways of showing their total incompetence.
Last Wednesday, in their infinite wisdom, the RNC decided to release a thirty second TV ad to be run on BET and TV One (both national Black cable channels). At press, this ad had been watched a whopping 3,421 times on YouTube.
Why is the RNC driving traffic to YouTube and not their website? These are the mistakes you make when you don’t understand branding.
TV One was a reasonable choice, but who in the hell in their right mind would advertise on BET to reach potential Republican voters? I know their response is going to be that BET was chosen, because they were focused on the millennial demographic.
Memo to the RNC: there is nothing about this ad that would appeal to millennials. NOTHING!
I guarantee you this decision was made by a White staffer with little input from any Blacks who understand the media and strategic communications.
Let me state for the record, I make my living in the areas of public relations and strategic communications, even though my undergraduate degree from Oral Roberts University is in Tax Accounting and my graduate degree from George Mason University is in International Business, but I digress.
I have worked with some of the biggest names in politics, business, sports and entertainment; this has included everything from writing speeches, to ghost writing editorials, congressional testimonies, TV and radio ads, etc.
The first and most important imperative in communications is to know your audience and then to know their issues and concerns. Based on this information, you create your TV or radio spots.
In creating your spot, there must be two components: the awareness phase and the call to action phase.
During the awareness phase, you are telling your audience “who you are” and “why the audience should care.” During the call to action phase, you are telling your audience what it is that you want them to do as a result of seeing your ad.
It is quite obvious, that “the copy” (the written script) for the ad was written by a White person because the verbiage and the visuals do absolutely nothing to connect with the Black community. When you are attempting to enter into a new market (engaging Black voters) and you have an extremely damaged product (perception of the Republican Party), you must let the Black community know that it’s okay to vote Republican.
The party’s brand is so damaged within the Black community, that before you can even deal with messaging, you first must rehabilitate the brand. This is crisis management 101.
How do you do this? You have to get validators to vouch for the party. Over the years, I have brought some of the biggest names in sports, entertainment, and business to the party (Hall of Famers, Grammy Award winning artists, etc.). The party did absolutely nothing with them.
Democrats are great at identifying and utilizing Black validators. They get validators like N.B.A. Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Alisha Keys, Hill Harper, and Erika Alexander, to name a few. They not only engage them for political purposes, but they also utilize them to promote specific policies that the Democratic Party is promoting.
The RNC ad has Blacks in it that nobody knows. They are not identified in the ad at all. One of the guys in the ad has an open collared shirt and a business jacket on with an earring in his ear.
Memo to the RNC: this is not a good look. No earrings. This is Exhibit A in not knowing your audience.
Now juxtapose the Black TV ad with the ad the RNC did for the Hispanic community. At press, this ad had been watched a whopping 3,949 times on YouTube. The script is a whole lot better than the Black one and they have various Latinos actually doing the talking which is always more effective than using a voiceover artist.
But again, who the hell are these people? They are not publically known Latinos, therefore their name and title must be used. Furthermore, their Twitter handle should have been under their names to create a viral opportunity.
One way to measure the effectiveness of an ad is by watching it with no sound. You should be able to ascertain the message without sound. By this measurement alone, the RNC’s ads are a resounding failure.
There is no mention of the word “Republican” until the very end of the commercial. There is very little Republican branding anywhere during the actual spot. This is marketing 101. You must brand your product throughout your commercials.
In the Black ad, no one in the spot speaks one word; it is strictly a video with a female voiceover. The ad is all over the map. There is no concise message that would resonate with the Black community, especially if you have come to believe that the party is racist and hate Black people.
Yet, another example of the party trying to do the right thing, but doing it in absolutely the wrong way.
Raynard Jackson is founder and chairman of Black Americans for a Better Future (BAFBF), a federally registered 527 Super PAC established to get more Blacks involved in the Republican Party. BAFBF focuses on the Black entrepreneur. For more information about BAFBF, visit www.bafbf.org. You can follow Raynard on Twitter @Raynard1223.