Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 


He was hope. He was change. He was a Latino from Florida.

This was a potent brand if ever the pundits had seen one.

He was Jeb! without the exclamatory passivity. He was Trump without the hump. Surely he would cruise past Cruz.

Except that he didn't.

The Marco Rubio brand seemed straight out of the marketing manuals that you'll still hear recited in very dull meetings.

He was likable and positive. He didn't appear to have too many negatives.

This was until the cameras started constantly rolling.

In debates, this supposedly youthful, hopeful brand took on a slightly insistent, whiny tone, as if it was a young boy trying to prove he should be eating at the adults' table.

Where he should have appeared confident, he came across as rehearsed.

Those rehearsals had left him with recitations rather than inspirations.

A brand that had once seemed like a natural was suddenly looking manufactured.

He was robotic when he was supposed to be naturally persuasive. He was uptight when he should have been relaxed.

In the face of his competition, his handlers told him to change strategy. It was as if they'd lost confidence in everything they'd previously believed.

The candidate of youthful hope was suddenly joining in the puerile, penile humor.

This was the candidate whose tagline was A New American Century.

Marco Rubio had turned into Marco Rube.

Sometimes, brands are run by the panic-stricken -- those who react to outside events, rather than have confidence in their original strategy.

In the face of bullying invective, Rubio wasn't able to either ignore it or rise above it.

Instead, he showed on TV that he was affected by it. This led to his handlers encouraging him to throw away everything that had been positive about his brand.

True, the Republican presidential campaign has shown itself to be a peculiar market.

The consumers seem more moved by attributes such as overt displays of peacock and poppycock.

But to ditch everything you believe is a drastic gamble.

Markets, just like presidential campaigns, change over time. Core needs, however, don't necessarily change so quickly.

The Rubio brand managers were set on what those needs were.

When it became apparent that behaving like a jerk was appealing to many, Brand Rubio had a knee-jerk reaction.

Perhaps there will still be some brokering that might save him, or at least prolong his agonious survival.

But it's surely more likely that, if there is an alternative to the saber-rattling prattling of the very consistent brands of Trump and Cruz, it will come from Brand Kasich.

From the beginning, he's offered the adult aw-shucks rather than the TV star's mo' bucks.

Electorates, like markets, often choose what they think will make them feel good.

What rarely makes them feel good is a brand that claims to be one thing on a Thursday and behaves in quite another way by Monday.

It's one thing to react to market conditions. It's quite another to toss away everything your brand was built on in the first place.

Marco Rubio was going to deliver A New American Century.

Then he got suckered by an old American advertising trick: the side-by-side comparison.