My Big Insight… Stolen!

Thank God the Trump show is almost over.

It’s like a zombie that keeps rising from the grave, after everyone was sure it was dead. Last season, I would have bet it had officially jumped the shark… but then they did the “Book Smarts vs. Street Smarts” concept, and damn if that didn’t hook me all over again.

However, once I realized that NONE of the apprentices were ever going to tell Trump to go screw himself, I vowed I was done after this season.

Couldn’t someone have stood up and at least flipped the bastard off?

But now I hear that, next season, they’re promising to have “Old Farts” against “Young Bucks”… and that’s just too damned fascinating a concept to ignore.

The bitter and arrogant versus the attitude-challenged arrogant. Gramps against the whippersnappers.

Should be quite a show.

I’ll bet the producers are having a field day lining up borderline personalities that explode under stress.

Maybe there’ll be fights!

Anyway, the “hidden” marketing wisdom in this last episode just screamed out to me, and I thought I had a great theme for this blog… until Alex, the guy who got fired, stole my punch line.

And then he put dessert topping on it.

Great stuff. Maybe he deserved to get the axe, maybe not. But here’s the twin observations that, I believe, made the show worthwhile:

1. Of COURSE the product was art, and not just a tee shirt. (I have already started next month’s Rant newsletter, and my theme is “find the real product”. Coincidence? Or eerie interference from forces beyond our reckoning?)

The winners understood the nature of what they were selling — a famous (though obscure) artist’s limited edition. So they emailed several thousand of his rabid fans, and went to town selling these tee shirts as art.

(By the way… for my money, Haines makes the WORST tee shirts available. They shrink, they’re thin, they rat-out fast, and fit like they were sewed by monkeys.)

This is what the USP is all about — your unique sales position. The average mall-rat may or may not care about your special edition tee. The art will either excite him on a primitive level, or leave him cold. He may just rather have a retro-AC/DC “Highway To Hell” logo.

And, this may be my imagination, but after age 30, you don’t get a lot of people buying “show” tees. The occasional Grateful Dead tie-dye from the ’87 world tour, sure. But only to work out or sleep in. Or maybe to put under your sweater, as a secret bit of rebellion.

I believe art is important. I like all kinds of art.

This tee shirt was art.

2. For me, though, the winning comment (may I have the envelope, please)was what Alex said during his dreaded “farewell taxi ride”: Before the show, he’d thought it took months and months to plan out a business project.

Now, he realized that was bunk.

You can plan, create product, and roll out profitable ventures in a weekend. In an evening, even, once you get your stride.

That’s huge. Most people tentatively entering the entrepreneurial world overplan their first few projects… and often suffer from that overplanning. They spend too much time outside of Operation MoneySuck, screwing with stuff that will be irrelevant unless they find a good market and create killer advertising.

I just covered this in the updates to “Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets” — you can test for markets in a very short time, for spare change now.

And finding the right product, especially your first time into a particular market, is more a matter of giving people what they already want. Not what you think they “need”.

The basics of killer marketing are, and always have been, pretty simple.

So — two great lessons in one show.

I’m sure both went right over The Donald’s head.

Can you imagine what he would do, if forced to come up with a product and marketing plan for a tee shirt all on his lonesome? After freaking out because his toadies weren’t there to suck up, he’d have a big “speak to truth” meeting with the vapid wasteland inside his own head.

Panic would set in quickly.

I find that image extemely entertaining.

What do you think?

John Carlton

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  • My guess is Trump and company were pissed royally that they didn’t get the Sponsorship monies out of BedazzlerCorp.


  • Jim Tuck says:

    Most people cant handle the truth! over five years since anyone left a comment here?

  • mark grove says:

    Trump is over rated as a business person.Then again he’s the one who’s got money,not me. Never watched many episodes of The Apprentice.

    I thought it was a little schlocky.

    These people are business people?

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