DIGO Founder Mark Dimassimo on the impact on Gingrich’s character and brand of his response to his ex-wife’s claims in an interview.
Neil Cavuto: There was no admission. ABC News did NOT offer us any opportunity to have surrogates in the piece. It took THREE DAYS of putting pressure on ABC News before they agreed to interview anyone to give our side of the story. Branding expert Mark DiMassimo says that what happened here could be sort of the tip of the sort of character iceberg here. Explain that, what do you think this tells us.
Mark: Well, I’m a brand guy and I look at Newt Gingrich’s brand and the strategy that he is pursuing to try and win this nomination. Now Newt is a great strategist he knows that the conservatives need a champion, so he tries to position himself as a champion. But he’s not just a strategist on this campaign, he’s also the product – the product- and the product has a problem. And the problem is that the brand is certainly a challenger brand but there’s a difference between a challenger and a champion. A challenger is aggressive, a challenger fights, a challenger can be hopping mad and excessive. Right? But a champion is loyal, honorable, fare, a gentleman. A champion will stand by you and look what happening now with this story. There’s the personal life – by the way go to politico.com right now the most popular story is this story. The most popular…the most discussed are the political stories, so the political folks don’t necessarily want to talk about the personal. People are interested because it connects at the brand level. Disloyalty.
Neil Cavuto: What this goes back to is, I always think that people who are gifted, he’s very gifted as a speaker but usually your greatest gift can also be your greatest weakness and I remember the boxer Mike Tyson, he tried to corral a bull, at the strength of tin man, and he could just beat the crap out of everybody. But it was that same out of control recklessness in the ring that was very common behavior outside the ring and ultimately torpedoed his career. And I know no one is going to confuse Mike Tyson for Newt Gingrich but my point is that they both suffer the same problem, of both having a wonderful strength that can be their wonderful undoing.
Mark: It’s the tragic flaw. In characters and in brands. In order to be a successful candidate you have to look like a successful president. So, yes he’s the fighter, he’s the challenger, he’s hopping mad. “Hot-headed arrogance,” said Coulter today, right. “Hot-headed arrogance.” So, he’s the fighter but is he also the leader?
Neil Cavuto: But isn’t that his selling point right now, you need that, you know take prisoners and bang up the china shop kind of guy.
Mark: The other elements of the brand are too negative, disloyal is the key word. Devious… and deviant, now how can you represent…
Neil Cavuto: Where did the deviant come from?
Mark: Oh let’s see here- Emmitt Tyrell, The American Spectator
Neil Cavuto: Well that’s crossing into a dangerous territory when you move into that. But you think that he’s in trouble on the character thing that ultimately he tried to dismiss is going to be his undoing.
Mark: I think that it connects to the political issues and his own history. He’s a historian burdened by his own history. And what they’re saying is he has a history of disloyalty. Even to Reagan that’s another very big story today, He criticized Reagan and he was disloyal … that’s what they’re saying.