Madam Secretary

Fox News finds some ad men who predictably miss the point of Smart Power

Fox News finds some ad men who predictably miss the point of Smart Power

Stephen Clark of Fox News went on a little fishing expedition to ask the smartest guys in the room — marketing professionals — what they thought of Hillary Clinton’s use of the phrase "smart power" to define the administration’s new foreign policy paradigm.

Clinton, who was sworn in as secretary of state on Wednesday, defined "smart power" at her Senate confirmation hearing as using the full range of tools available to the United States, including diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal and cultural tools.

According to Clark’s Ad Men, that’s not nearly good enough.

Essentially, ‘smart power’ is just more evidence of how bad the communication coaching Hillary Clinton gets and probably cost her the (presidential) campaign," said Rob Frankel, a branding expert and author of "The Revenge of Brand X."

Frankel praised the concept but slammed the execution. "The execution is where Hillary traditionally falls on her face," he said. "And whoever is advising her should be soundly whipped."

The execution? What does that even mean? The next Ad Man can’t do any better.

Alan Siegel, founder and head of Siegel + Gale, a brand consultancy, described "Smart Power" as an "unfortunate choice of words."

"I don’t think it’s good to say you’re smart," he said. "I think it’s smarmy." He said Clinton should have used words like "intelligent" or "sensitive" instead.

So this guy thinks we should call American’s new foreign policy "sensitive power" instead? Isn’t that a Gilette ad already?

Clark, unlike the mindless idiots he chose to interview, does seemingly realize that the phrase "smart power" was coined by Harvard’s Joe Nye and Richard Armitage, President George W. Bush’s former deputy secretary of state. Another Harvard man tells Clark:

I think it captures the integration of hard power and soft power," said John A. Quelch, a Harvard professor who studies global marketing and branding in emerging and developed markets.

Wow, so it’s not necessarily just branding but an actual school of thought in international relations? And Hillary Clinton not only heard of it, but agreed that utilizing all the tools at our nation’s disposal in a "smart" way is a good thing? Yeah, how awful. Get her some communications people, stat.