Holy Product Placement and Other Fripperies

Holy product placement. Millions of us watched the monumentally popular Pope Francis drive off in his four-door Fiat 500S. Don't you assume this car will show a correlational rise in global sales? It was also a plug for the Vatican's host country -- Italy from whence Fiats originate. So in addition to being beloved, he's also smart.
What's wrong with this picture? The purpose of California's Napa Valley wine train is to transport incrementally more tipsy tourists from one winery to the next. So it's a bit puzzling to learn that the train lords kicked a book club group off the train -- for laughing too loudly. "
Trump's card: Attitude over reason; demeanor over dogma; style over substance and reason.This seems to be fueling Donald Trump's high ranking in the national presidential poles making some folks a wee nervous. But is it so very different from the way we tend to judge all presidential candidates? Sure, there's a perpetual left-right perspective at play. But during primary season aren't candidates' policies more aspirational than reality? These elections are mostly about the candidates perceived personalities.

Take Harry Truman: feisty, straight-forward style, tough, especially against, New York Governor

Tom Dewey, a tight-ass performer featuring a villainous-looking slim mustache.

John Kennedy: cool, handsome, charming, self-deprecating. Did anyone vote for him because of his stand on the Quemoy and Matsu islands?

How about Richard Nixon: determined, serious, clever, tough, but with a heavy five-o'clock shadow, he looked vaguely ominous standing next to sun-tanned Kennedy.

Remember George McGovern: pliable, limp, squishy.

Jimmy Carter: folksy, down-to-earth peanut farmer with a calming manner following the turbulence of Nixon. That he was also a high tech nuclear submarine naval officer was not a deciding factor.

Lyndon Johnson: aggressive, in-your-face, larger-than-life, tough.

Ronald Reagan: genial, charming, great smile, projected strength.

Clinton: bubba.

George W. Bush: barbecue guy.

Obama: cool, detached, looks and sounds smart.

Which brings us back to...

The Trumpster: aggressive, in-your-face, larger-than-life, projects strength. Familiar? He's also vigorously self-absorbed but don't you assume narcissism is an obligatory ingredient for anyone running for president? For many, narcissism translates to confidence. Until Trump, the smart narcissist kept it out of view but Trump is playing an open hand. Now add very successful to his mix and you begin to see why that could be a winning hand.


The potent influence of social media was on full display recently when mondo-star Taylor Swift took on Apple over royalty issues and made the tech-lords relent. No press release. No news conference. She did it online with an open letter on her Tumblr page that went viral on social media.

Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore.