Trump’s crazy marketing plane wreck

Lately I’m binge-watching Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice.”

When the shows originally aired, I was spending the evenings teaching myself web programming. So I have some catching up to do.

Yesterday I watched the second episode of season 1, and my reactions ranged from amused to horrified. Mostly horrified.

If you missed it, here’s how it went down:

Trump split the 16 contestants up into two “corporations,” the men vs. the women.

Their assignment was to create a TV commercial and magazine ad campaign for a startup company. This company sold a membership card that allowed members to rent time on private jets. It’s a similar concept to NetJets, which you may have heard of.

Trump took the candidates to one of the “best in the world” advertising agencies on Madison Avenue, and they got to work.

After a brief argument, the men decided that they didn’t have time to meet with the client—they jumped straight into a van and headed to the airport to start shooting their commercial.

One of the women had her own ad agency, so they took a smarter approach and set up a brief meeting with the client. While talking to the client they learned that the president wanted a “big idea,” something “bold.”

When the teams presented their campaigns, I couldn’t stop laughing.

The men’s commercial featured a concerned woman who was glad her husband was flying on a private jet because it would keep him safe…

And the women, well, words cannot describe.

They decided to go for “shock value,” and use a… phallic theme for ads. Each ad was just a suggestive close-up of some part of a private jet, coupled with 3-4 words of “clever,” suggestive copy.

This entire episode was a case study in everything that’s wrong with advertising.

Here’s what really struck me, though:

At NO point did either team even consider talking to THE CUSTOMER.

In fact, they didn’t even realize who their true customer was—the corporate executives and successful entrepreneurs who might consider buying a group membership to a fleet of private jets.

They didn’t even think about why these business people (who Dan Kennedy calls the “mass affluent”) might want to use a jet: affordable luxury, status, impressing clients, closing more deals.

Instead they focused entirely on pleasing the ad agency owner and the president of the startup.

This is why it’s so dangerous for small businesses to look at the marketing you see everywhere and copy their approach.

The “marketers” who put this garbage together aren’t looking to make sales. They’re looking for a pat on the back from their client and their peers.

And you know what? If it was up to me, I’d tell all of them:

“You’re fired.”

P.S. If you’re marketing a product or service and would like to make sure you’re hitting your customer’s “buying triggers,” I can help.

I’m going to be opening up 2 coaching slots in December for entrepreneurs who want to improve their marketing strategy and their email and sales page copy. You’ll get direct access to me and 1:1 feedback on your marketing.

Interested? Contact me and I’ll add you to my private VIP notification list.