"There's still plenty of life in that tombstone." Help Roland Burris make a comeback | Bleader

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"There's still plenty of life in that tombstone." Help Roland Burris make a comeback

Posted By on 06.16.09 at 04:07 PM

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During these dog days in the ad biz, I'm guessing there are plenty of underemployed image makers out there who want to show what they can do.

Here's your chance. I just spotted the blog post in which the Reader's Mick Dumke says Lisa Madigan might consider running for the Senate next year because "incumbent Roland Burris is widely viewed as a goner."

But Madigan doesn't want that job! She wants to be governor. For her sake Burris has to be rehabilitated.

Don't tell me it can't be done. The ad pros know how to empty our wallets, take years off our lives, and turn our values inside out. They can sell us Roland Burris. They can pick him up, dust him off, rebrand him, and send him out on the campaign trail as the people's choice.

It's not that I think Burris deserves redemption, though I do think he's the victim of a double standard -- we snicker at the egoism of his tombstone but we don't laugh at more formidable politicians who put their names on new county hospitals and state office buildings. No, I think of Burris as a creative director's ultimate test. Sell him to the people as a serious public figure and you can sell anything. Which, Mr. or Ms. Creative Whizbang, I assume you think you can.

Though I'll add this: Back in 1970, less than a year after Chappaquiddick, Esquire asked some top agencies how they'd rehabilitate Ted Kennedy so he could run for president. One of the agencies came up with a pitch that showed Serious Men in Corridors of Power murmuring to each other in roughly these words, "They say Kennedy's OK for '76, but he's out in '72" -- the tacit message being, "If that's the case,  let's get him back in." But Kennedy wasn't OK for '72, he wasn't OK for '76, and when he finally decided to run for the White House in 1980 he wasn't OK then either.

On the other hand, Mr. or Ms. Marketing Genius, he didn't have you working on his campaign. It all begins with the right slogan. Suggestions?

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