Just What This Country Needs: Less Talk and a Lot More Kissing

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Adages often leads into a politically related item by swearing we aren't into the whole politics thing. Obviously, we're lying about as much as Hillary Clinton saying she's paying off Tom Vilsack's campaign debts just because she felt like it. For Adages, politics is something we love to hate.
Special interest: truth in advertising
Special interest: truth in advertising

So we're not quite sure how to feel about Steve Kissing announcing that he's maybe thinking about possibly seriously running for president (take that, Chuck Hagel). Kissing is the 43-year-old creative director at Barefoot Advertising in Cincinnati.

Surely no one would actually consider voting for someone who works in the ad industry (it's not like he's a qualified actor). But how can you not like a guy who wrote a memoir called "Running from the Devil," about being possessed by Satan as a young boy growing up on Cincinnati's west side?

But is he serious? Serious enough to persuade a colleague, Adam George, an interactive designer at Barefoot, to develop a website.

Kissing4prez.org could launch as soon as today, and Kissing was kind enough to give our own Mya Frazier a sneak peek. To say that Kissing is speaking our language would be the understatement of the election cycle.

Check out some of his campaign copy from the site:

"What do I know about running a country? Not a damn thing, but that hasn't stopped others -- and it's not about to stop me."

"Why am I qualified to be president? ... I've got no one in my pockets -- or up my ass. At least the last time I checked."

And then there's the bio: "I'm a divorced father of two daughters. ... I've smoked pot. As a kid, I stole about $25 from my church. I've made fun of overweight people. ... I've been to a few strip clubs."

But again, is he serious? Or is it self-interest, a way to raise the profile of a boutique creative-advertising agency?

"No, that really wasn't it. This was driven by a very personal thing. I'm fed up," Mr. Kissing said. But are you serious?

"Once I raise a certain amount of money, I have to report to the Federation Election Commission."

In other words, we'll just have to wait until he crosses the $5,000 mark to find out.

The word 'celebrity' has now lost all meaning
It's just more evidence that marketers (and their agency executives) shouldn't be on reality TV. ABC's "American Inventor" has purged all three marketing-industry judges for its second season, which starts June 6.

Gone is Doug Hall, the tropical-shirt-clad Procter & Gamble Co. alum and founder of new-product-consulting firm Richard Saunders International. So, too, are two judges who had been his antagonists: Ed Evangelista, executive creative director at WPP Group's JWT, New York; and Mary Lou Quinlan, the former N.W. Ayer executive who founded consulting firm Just Ask a Woman.

They're replaced by George Foreman, who, despite many blows to the head as a boxer, marketed a wildly successful grill; Pat Croce, former president of the Philadelphia 76ers and TV color commentator; and Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx pantyhose. The marketing types couldn't compete with star power like that, apparently. The show's producers "really liked the judges that were there last season, but they decided to go with a celebrity panel," said an ABC spokesman.

The fourth judge, Peter Jones, the U.K. businessman who brought the show concept to the U.S. as executive producer, remains in season two.

Mr. Hall, dubbed "Slappy" by "American Inventor" producer Simon Cowell because he "has that face you just want to slap," and lampooned as "Mr. Know It All" in one show segment, told reporter Jack Neff he's not sorry to go. He's busy supporting a plan to license his new-product creation and evaluation processes to the Nielsen Co., a major consulting firm and the federal government, he said. "Simon wasn't easy to work with," he added. Mr. Evangelista and Ms. Quinlan didn't return calls for comment.

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Contributing: Mya Frazier, Jack Neff
Send campaign donations to kwheaton@adage.com
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