Whether you support Hillary or Donald, chances are you've never heard of Gerald. But you're going to love him--or at least his political ad.

Background: Gerald Daugherty is a candidate for reelection to the Travis County Commissioners Court in Texas. While you probably have no dog at all in that fight, you'll soon understand why his self-deprecating campaign ad is one of the most viral things to come out of the 2016 political season. (You can see the whole ad at the bottom of this article.)

It's funny, it makes fun of its candidate, and it doesn't mention his opponent. As The Washington Post put it:

It portrays its candidate as an over-the-top policy wonk, a man who really loves the intricacies of the municipal code. A lot. And it doesn't reference his political party even once. That's probably a good calculation on his part; Daugherty is a moderate Republican in a red state, living in a liberal city.

In fact, the whole thing is really a 60-second lesson on how to build a brand that people can connect with. Here's how it works.

1. It's authentic.

This is the number-1 feeling that comes through. Daugherty is a politician, but he portrays himself as an un-self-conscious, geeky, policy wonk, steeped in the kind of boring stuff that everyone else finds sleep inducing. He seems to be a lot more into policy than politics, even if that leaves his neighbors sighing and trying to listen politely.

2. It's got social proof.

Daugherty's wife, Charlyn Daugherty, is the real star of the commercial. She gets the best moments--rolling her eyes multiple times as her policy geek husband can't stop talking about things like the property tax rate--and introducing her husband, somewhat wearily, as a man who "doesn't really have any hobbies."

She also delivers the ad's final line: "Please re-elect Gerald... Please!" (as in, just to get him out of the house).

3. It's humanizing.

The ad does a great job of turning a negative into a positive. If you're looking for someone to fill the not-so-scintillating post of court commissioner, maybe boring is what you want.



Here's the ad in full. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

Published on: Oct 27, 2016
Like this column? Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you'll never miss a post.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.