Among the reactions to last night’s State of the Union message was this late night dispatch from marketing genius and all-purpose idea man Spin Williams, who conducts his business in a rolling conversation he calls The Meeting That Never Ends.
We’ve been kicking it around in The Meeting all night long, and it’s our verdict that the standout feature of President Obama’s speech last night is his repeated exhortation for Americans to “Win The Future”. It’s a brilliant three-word call to action that sounds wonderfully urgent and has the added advantage of being completely vague and is therefore totally flexible. Is “the future” the prize we’re after, or the game we’re playing? The answer could be both! In any case, how will we know we’ve won? The future is always just ahead, so even if we think we’re winning right now, there’s always a chance some unnamed country with a whole lot of hard working people and tons of money in the bank will overtake us before we get there. So if our goal is to Win The Future, we can Never Quit until we’re Told We’re Finished. I mean Victorious! Well done, Mr. President!
I love slogans and I wish we had more of them! For me, the last memorable three-word salvo from a president was Gerald Ford’s “Whip Inflation Now” (WIN). Remember the buttons? I still have a box of them in my basement. People ridiculed it at the time, but eventually inflation got tamed, if not completely whipped. Although buttons that said “TIN” wouldn’t have had the same power – you have to be bold to get attention! I thought at the time that “whip” was wimpy and our goal should be to “Smash” inflation, but people told me the button would be an embarrassment. Why? Last night I suggested that “Win The Future” is deserving of its own line of “WTF” buttons and apparel, but all the younger folks at the table insisted that would be a huge mistake. I still don’t get it. Bright people can be so timid sometimes!
Anyway, I’m totally on board with this new national effort to Win The Future. Americans love competition, and the slogan is generic enough to connect whatever happens to be the issue of the day (education, energy independence, trade deficits, pollution) to whatever sport you most enjoy playing (football, chess, tennis, air hockey, poker). It may be that our cards don’t look so good right now, but bluffing is an important part of the game and false confidence in the face of overwhelming odds can be a winning strategy. This is our new slogan, people. We should support it. WTF!
I admire Spin for his enthusiasm, no matter the topic. And although I’m not sure I share his fondness for three word slogans, I think he’s right about our love for games.
What’s your favorite competitive sport?