Please forgive my provincial angle on this one.
Fred Ricart is co-owner with his younger brother Rhett of Ricart Ford, a very large and successful auto dealership here in Columbus. They are one of the highest-volume dealerships in America, delivering approximately 1000 vehicles per month. The average dealership does about 100.
The two brothers took over their father's small country store in the mid-1980's, and quickly turned it into a behemoth. They accomplished this amazing growth with a strong commitment to advertising -- huge amounts of advertising. Ricart Ford ads were suddenly everywhere -- TV, radio, newspapers, billboards, mailers, phone books, bus stop benches, etc. They spent tons on advertising, which meant they needed to sell tons of cars. And they did.
Of the two, Rhett had a nose for business and he was the one who actually ran the operation. (Way back when, Rhett and I were in a couple of the same business classes at Ohio State, and he was -- how shall I put this? -- a dick.) Fred didn't have a lot of interest in the actual car business -- he was more into car racing, partying, and most of all, music. Fred is truly a talented guitar player. From childhood, he really worked at it.
To this day in central Ohio, nobody knows who Rhett Ricart is, but almost everybody knows Fred Ricart. That's because, early on, Fred and his guitar became the advertising icon of Ricart Ford -- every ad featured Fred and his guitar. His guitar was slung over his shoulder in print ads. In his TV and radio spots, he mugged and sang and played his six-string on take-offs of Top 40 hits and TV shows, always ending with his grinning catch-phrase, "We're dealin'!"
It was memorable and effective advertising, to say the least, and Fred became a local celebrity. But reality was that little brother Rhett was doing all the heavy lifting. Fred was just the front man, the carnival barker.
Donald Trump reminds me of Fred Ricart -- a front man; an image rather than a reality.
|"I'm president! Top of the world, ma!"|
He'll pop into the White House from time to time and make an occasional Chairman-style decision -- "Ivanka, I need you to summarize all the Middle East issues for me in a one-paragraph memo, double-spaced, yuge margins" -- but he'll spend most of his time in Manhattan or at one of his golf courses or horseback-riding in Russia with his pal Putin.
We'll need to keep a close eye on those "others."