The Charm Offensive

Midway through the Obama presidency was something called the “Charm Offensive”. The president went around the country, taking photos and meeting with celebrities. All sorts of public appearances followed from it.

I was young at the time and saw virtually no significance in it. After all, he’d already won his second term. What was the use in drawing up popular support? It turns out it was fairly useful politically. First off was the obvious fact celebrities¬†appeared to be able to sway the opinions of their fans. It’s a reasonable assumption to make, people look up to successful and famous figures. But what was the use?

The election cycle we just experienced showcased it. Celebrities were used in propaganda style videos and advertisements in an attempt to sway the election! People of our stock aren’t easily swayed by Iron Man telling us who to vote for, but that isn’t true for swaths of the population.

Orrrr so we thought. Turns out actors are just that; actors. People don’t regard them as hugely credible, real, etc. There’s a more promising market for celebrity endorsements however, and Trump is tapping into it like his administration depends on it.¬†The Elon Musk cabinet pick is fairly noteworthy. Trump recently met with leading technology innovators, telling them “You are the future”. Leading black celebrities are also common, Kanye perhaps being the most noteworthy.

Trump is tapping into creators of more intimately known aspects of our life. Music is something the singer (mostly) pours their heart and soul into. Technology invades every aspect of our lives, consulting those at its frontier resonates with us.

This strategy won’t see grand payoffs until 2020, when all the accumulated wealth, convenience, and eases of hardships will be on full display, but it’ll happen.

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