The NRA. The World’s Newest Most Toxic Brand

The NRA.  The World's Newest Most Toxic Brand

This morning I woke up to see that the NRA, the National Rifle Association, has apparently given their bitch queen spokesperson, Dana Loesch, her own television show, in which she is going to take the “Liberal Establishment” apart.

And judging from the very Trump-like language of this promo, she treatens to very much open up a can of AR-15 whup-ass on all the hypocricy generated by the news media, Hollywood, every left wing hash tag movement, even candy-ass politicians and anybody else who wants to see America as a place with saner gun laws.

See video: https://tinyurl.com/y8793hml

The vitriol and hatred seething in this woman’s presentation feels pretty real, which means, to me at least, that she has jumped the shark and will now be branded, along with the group, she represents, as a Class A Fanatic.

The NRA has come under a lot of heavy fire, especially since the latest mass shooting in Parkland Hills Florida, which was the spawning ground for the most potent anti-assault weapon protest in America history. It’s one that’s not going away either and even has the moron-in-chief talking positively about the issue, which is insane in and of itself.

Since then, large retailers, like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart and others have both removed semi-automatic weapons and other deadly trinkets from their shelves and refuse to sell a gun to anyone under the age of 21.

Corporate sponsors have been fleeing in droves from the NRA as well, reducing the perks of NRA membership, which is always a big part of the lure of any association.

In short, the NRA brand is under attack, and they make a juicy target since they represent what Dylan referred to many years ago as The Masters of War. Except that this time the war is on them, and the attackers are high school students, their families, the media and a whole lot of people who just want to see the rifles and guns, whose only purpose is for killing other human beings, off the street.

In fact, literally, dozens of NRA members and owners of AR-15 rifles, are now making videos, which are going viral, destroying their guns because they agree that there is no need for assault weapons in the domestic market.

The Branding & Marketing Perspective

Now, as a long time ad guy and marketer, I took a step back and looked at this issue, and thought about what would be the best way forward for the NRA right now – the road that would cause the least amount of damage, realizing there had to be some.

My suggestion and you can file it under ‘catching more flies with honey than you can with vinegar’, is that the NRA bow to all the public pressure, and advise all the politicians they own (a lot) to vote to have automatic weapons taken off the market and initiate deeper background checks, nationwide.

If they did that, two things would happen. 1. The people would have a victory over the bought-off politicians and the big bad NRA, and 2. The NRA itself would be seen as an organization with a bit of a heart. This, In turn, would pave the way for a new membership drive, and get back their corporate sponsorships.

And the price for this would be rather cheap, since, if the movements go on, which they will, the demand for semi-automatic weapons will tank anyway.

Of Course, That’s Way Too Logical

The thing that you have to keep in mind here is that the NRA is not your average lobby group. It is and has been since its inception, a group of fanatical second amendment patriots. and this viewpoint has been branded powerfully in the American culture since the days when Charlton Heston was their spokesperson and proclaimed that any form of gun control was basically a declaration of war on the Second Amendment and all that America stood for. Yadda Yadda.

The NRA is a fanatical lobby group, and they are that way because the gun makers who funnel money to them, which they, in turn, funnel to whoever is in power, want them to be that way.

They operate on the simple, strategy that if you keep people in a state of fear, they will want to arm themselves for protection. And so it goes all the way to the bank.

Ms Loesch is every bit as fanatical as Charlton Heston, and perhaps even scarier, because Heston was a big presence and kind sounded reasonable most of the time.

This woman is seething with rage, and it makes her surface good looks feel all the more ugly, because of what you can sense is going on inside her. To quote the old Northern Pikes’ lyric…She ain’t pretty, she just looks that way.

Make War Not Love

What the NRA has basically done is decided that they need to take the offensive and fight the forces that are opposed to them in the most menacing ways possible.

They are threatening their political puppets in Congress with a huge loss of campaign revenue in a year when all congressional seats are up for grabs.

They are giving Dana Loesch her own TV on the NRA network, which is something I have never really heard of, but which sounds like singing to the choir at best. And they are peppering their rhetoric with veiled threats, in a somewhat lame attempt to get their members to more or less declare war on all the liberal weenies who want to take their guns away.

Currently, and very much subject to change, one of those weenies is Donald J. Trump. But it’s Wednesday, and the day is young.

Net-Net

So the net result of pursuing this strategy may very well be that there are no changes to the gun laws, until next year at least, when there will be a new Congress, which, from all indications, could have a democratic majority and a dramatically increased number of women.

So from a strategic point of view, the NRA will potentially have achieved nothing more, policy-wise, than the maintenance of the status quo.

But from the public relations, corporate sponsorship and future membership points of view, they are now more toxic than they ever have been in their history.

And so the more hatred and vitriol Dana Loesch dumps into the public spotlight, the more toxic they will become.

Ultimately this will impact on their ability to influence policy, no matter how much money they throw at it. and the hope is that they eventually revert to nothing more than a glorified gun club.

Of course, I’m talking about Trump’s America here, and everything I have laid out makes perfect sense from my own marketing perspective. What really happens is always, sadly, going to be a different kettle of fish.

Jim Out.

Jim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional. He is a communication strategist, writer, art director, broadcast producer & mildly opinionated op/ed blogger.

He is also a partner at Bullet Proof Consulting. www.bulletproofconsulting.ca

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