Tags: melania trump | jacket | immigration

Biased Media and Melania's Unintended Branding Lesson

Biased Media and Melania's Unintended Branding Lesson
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump departs Andrews Air Rorce Base in Maryland June 21, 2018, wearing a jacket emblazoned with the words "I really don't care, do you?" following her surprise visit with child migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

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Monday, 25 June 2018 12:52 PM Current | Bio | Archive

It was predictable. First Lady Melania Trump made an unannounced trip last week to a children’s shelter in McAllen, Texas, near the Mexican border. Seems noble and innocuous, right? Apparently not.

First, even if Melania were to cure cancer, the Trump-hating media would find a way to disparage her accomplishment. So, no way would they praise her for caring enough about the asylum-seeking children, separated from their parents at the time of her visit, to inspect their shelter and interview those operating it.

Second, Ms. Trump chose to wear a $39 Zara jacket, emblazoned on the back with this odd message: “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?”

That jacket was enough to incite the rabid so-called journalists to hysteria, such that they endlessly accused the first lady of being callous and tone-deaf. They could fathom and discuss nothing else.

Her husband, the president, came to her aid by insisting that the purpose of Melania’s jacket was to diss the “fake news” media.

And, Melania’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham, had to further clarify the brouhaha: “It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message. After today’s important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn’t going to choose to focus on her wardrobe (Much like her high-heels last year).”

Branding axiom #1: When one has to explain her words after they’re communicated, those words are either ineffective or detrimental. Clear messaging is self-explanatory.

If Melania had been trying to slight the media, the message on her jacket should have been, “CNN and MSNBC Suck.” Clear enough?

After her visit to McAllen, Melania stated: "Today's visit impacted me greatly. I was very impressed with the center and the hardworking staff and leadership there — and thank them for all of their hard work. The children were eager to learn and were kind and in good spirits. Spending time with them reinforces the fact that these kids are in this situation as a direct result of adult actions. It is my hope that Members of Congress will finally reach across the aisle and work together to solve this problem with common-sense immigration reform that secures our borders and keeps families together."

Are Americans across the land even familiar with these heartfelt words? Of course not. Instead, almost every newspaper, magazine, tweet, and TV-news program is obsessed with Melania’s jacket.

Compounding the matter, many news outlets are utterly dishonest and biased.

The latest cover of “Time Magazine,” for example, features Donald Trump looking down at a little girl who appears lost with no parents. Message: Donald Trump is a mean man who likes to cleave families (despite his executive order and proclamations to the contrary).

Time’s cover is a shameless hoax: This child always has been with her mother. Regardless, the biased publication refuses to retract its propagandized cover.

Melania is a walking billboard, and she knows it. She also is aware that the mainstream media will pervert everything she says and does. So, to give them unnecessary grist, by wearing that jacket, was unwise. It detracted from and diminished the importance of her mission.

Branding axiom #2: Often, depending on the friendliness of the audience, the messenger is the message. A hostile audience will ignore or distort the message if it hates the messenger. This is why Melania’s main message — concern about the children — got lost.

Had Michelle Obama worn that exact Zara jacket, CNN would have lionized her as fashionably aloof and cool. And, all the liberal pundits, undoubtedly, would have defended her and called her critics racists and misogynists.

Melania’s unintended branding lesson: A message can’t be more effective than its messenger. Know your audience and its receptivity to you, and be precise: don’t give that audience any reason to question or misinterpret your objective.

Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs, speaker, media commentator, and author of "Brand Is Destiny: The Ultimate Bottom Line" and "Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding." Find him at MarcRudov.com. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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It was predictable. First Lady Melania Trump made an unannounced trip last week to a children’s shelter in McAllen, Texas, near the Mexican border. Seems noble and innocuous, right? Apparently not.
melania trump, jacket, immigration
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2018-52-25
Monday, 25 June 2018 12:52 PM
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