Out of Scope Issue 102: Personalities Play Politics
Plus: Barnes & Noble’s new strategy, and possibly the death of streaming?
This week, the Hirsch Leatherwood team pulled some deep cuts from the realms of politics, bookstores, reality TV, and Big Tech. These field-specific deep dives remind us that comms is a universal practice, and no matter the subject matter, best practices still apply—even if you’re Chuck E. Cheese. Scratch that; especially if you’re Chuck E. Cheese.
💡ON OUR MINDS: Personalities Play Politics
The world of politics has always been home to some big characters. With 2024’s big presidential race on the horizon, ‘tis the season for candidate surfacing—and this season’s cast is coming out swinging.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis faces a tough task in sizing up to his competition, former President Donald J. Trump– both literally and figuratively. Love him or hate him, it’s near impossible to compete with a personality as big as Trump. DeSantis has some serious legwork to do ahead of primary season and distance from nicknames, among other elements of the political landscape.
Across the aisle, Marianne Williamson and her delightful transatlantic accent have launched a campaign for the Democratic nomination, but have run into challenges with her reputation for mysticism and mindfulness– critiques she and others have been quick to call out as rudely dismissive and often, sexist.
Personality has long been a driving force in politics especially, but these cases remind us that personal reputation takes precedence over even the craftiest, well-planned communications strategies.
And, hey, a personal rebrand in politics isn’t impossible– even if you have to flee your home country to do it.
📡 ON OUR RADAR
A new survey revealed that a majority of millennials and Gen Zers pay for news. A notable tidbit: these generations are more than twice as likely as others to pay for news from independent creators vs. traditional print and digital outlets. It’s no surprise that the most online generations are also using an average of two social media sources per day to catch up on the latest.
Is streaming dying? More and more, already realized streaming projects are getting canceled before they’ve seen the light of day. Plus, in a post-physical media age, the stuff that does get released can vanish entirely and immediately if a streaming network pulls the plug. As platforms tighten their purse strings, it increasingly seems the majority of programs that avoid the boot are, in fact, banal reboots doubling as intellectual property rip-offs. The era of infinite possibilities streaming promised us has come and gone, it seems–welcome to “trough TV”.
Shoot for the moon and you’ll land in a lurch. A decade ago, Big Tech was exploding with massively ambitious ideas known as moonshots—self-driving cars, computer implants, healthcare disruptors. Google famously had its own moonshot laboratory enigmatically known as X. Now, with markets in turmoil and most efforts failing to deliver meaningful returns, The Washington Post has declared an end to the era of the moonshot.
When all breaks loose in the Bravoverse, it’s very rare the scandal of the hour reaches anyone outside of fans of the network. In the case of Vanderpump Rule’s “Scandoval”, everyone, even the New York Times is talking about it. The public has turned its back on the show’s self-proclaimed nice guy, Tom Sandoval, after he came clean about his months-long affair with fellow castmate and girlfriend of ten years’ friend, Raquel Levvis. Sandoval’s now tainted personal reputation has led to fans boycotting and leaving negative reviews under the two restaurants he partially owns.
In case you missed these stories.
Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt is taking a page out of the indie-bookshop curation playbook to revamp America’s favorite mega-bookstore chain.
A reminder there’s no need to be cagey about a media opportunity that is mostly fun and games—especially if the product you sell is explicitly fun and games.
Fast Company published a short, compelling history of Google’s AdSense that explores how targeted advertising changed the world.
Thanks for reading,
This week’s newsletter is brought to you by Glendale, Arizona (Taylor’s Version).