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Ad execs rethink what Americans want after Trump's win

Maytag tweeted out a photo of its spokescharacter the Maytag Man in honor of Pride Month.
Maytag tweeted out a photo of its spokescharacter the Maytag Man in honor of Pride Month.

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Cheerios aired a commercial a few years ago featuring a bi-racial family. Every June, several companies put out magazine ads covered in rainbows to celebrate Gay Pride Month. And it's not hard to recognize the PCH whenever a commercial features a car zipping along a rocky coast.

These were some feel-good campaigns that were meant to evoke feelings of diversity, inclusion and coastal culture in consumers.

But on the night of November 8th, advertisers behind spots like those got a wake-up call – if Hillary Clinton campaigned on those same ideals and lost, perhaps they need to rethink their own ads.

"It's forced us to ask the question whether our expertise out there has been increasingly biased to our mostly metropolitan, mostly coastal offices," says David Measer, an executive with the national advertising firm RPA. 

Take craft beers, for example. In the ad world, they're lauded as artisan and done with a lot of care.

"Meanwhile you had Budweiser, over the course of the last nine months, renaming their beer, 'America,'" says Measer. "I guarantee you, everyone in an ad agency looked down their noses at and thought, 'This is crazy.'"

But he says that campaign connected with a lot of Americans throughout the country.

While the ideals of diversity and inclusion are good, advertisers might have lost sight on people who buy things because they're moved by values like patriotism and practicality.

Measer says that might influence how execs like him frame future ad campaigns.

"We should discuss more specific functional benefits about how a brand can help you directly," he says, "versus selling you based on emotions and a general feeling."

The election has also led advertisers to reexamine their faith in their data about consumers over meeting people face-to-face.

"The [presidential] polls were all wrong, the methodology was all off. And we do the same thing," he says. "We need to look people in the eye more often. We need to tell stories with empathy and spend more time with people."

Hear more of Measer's thoughts by clicking on the audio player above.