Money Can’t Buy Me Love




“Can’t Buy Me Love” by The Beatles, was a global #1 hit which topped the Billboard charts in 1964 – three years before I was born. “I’ll buy you a diamond ring my friend, if it makes you feel alright. I’ll get you anything my friend, if it makes you feel alright.” This week Michael “Call Me Mike” Bloomberg learned that you can’t buy people’s affection. 


On Monday John Reid, host of Richmond’s Morning News on WRVA, invited me on to discuss money and politics. On the eve of Super Tuesday I reported that Bloomberg had spent $410 million dollars on TV ads in four months. To put this in perspective, this was more than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spent on their presidential campaigns in 2016 combined. On Tuesday, Bloomberg finished a distant fourth in the Democratic primary, bagging a total of 53 delegates. On Wednesday, reports surfaced suggesting that Bloomberg’s campaign ad spend exceeded $550 million dollars. For those of you who like math, that’s $10,377,358.49 cost per delegate. Half a billion dollars didn’t buy him much love. On Tuesday he won American Samoa. On Wednesday, he quit the race.


The idea that ‘Money Can’t Buy Love’ was firmly entrenched before The Beatles ever turned it into a hit song. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the famous writer and philosopher of Geneva, wrote “Money buys everything, except morality and citizens.” Rousseau spoke those words in 1750, according to the William & Mary College Quarterly, helping shape the “social contract” between Americans and their government. We the people have a fundamental sense of what’s right and wrong. Our votes are not for sale. “I don’t care too much for money, because money can’t buy me love.” 


Politicians have brands just like products, services, and companies. Good brands win and bad brands do not. There are only three kinds of brands — 1) brands you know and love, 2) brands you know and don’t love, and 3) brands you’ve never heard of. Everyone knows Mike Bloomberg, but few love him. Mike Bloomberg’s personal brand is essentially a #2 and all that money spent marketing him was wasted. His likability numbers once dropped to a dismal 22% in New York City while he was serving as mayor. In Virginia’s primary, he garnered just 9.8% of the vote. Imagine if Comcast & United Airlines, two of the most despised brands in America, ran for president. That would be like a Bloomberg/De Blasio ticket.


The lesson here is that if you’re spending a lot of money on marketing and not getting a good ROI, maybe you should be spending a little bit of those bucks on branding. #JustSayin




Monday, March 2 – Presentation Celebrations



On Monday a few of the Madison+Main-iacs jumped in the company Jeep, which we’ve dubbed The Hound and headed to Pinnacle Living for our first creative concept presentation of the day. We turned around and drove to Williamsburg a few minutes after so we could wow our clients at Governor’s Land at Two Rivers. Thank goodness there is a Burger King near New Kent otherwise we could not have survived the day. #ChickenFriesAreNotReallyFries






Tuesday, March 3 – Super Tuesday



I got up early and dropped by my polling place — Richmond’s Main Library. I walked in, read the ballot, and then walked out in disgust. 


Super Tuesday meant that kids were not in school in Chesterfield so Communications Manager Kent Brockwell had a very talented but shy assistant for the day, as his daughter Bonnie spent most of the morning with us. We love it when our favorite second-grader comes by to visit, but I do have to remind everybody to clean up the language. “What’s up, B?” 


Tuesday night wasn’t very super for my beloved VCU Rams as they fell in overtime to a tough Duquense team. For those of you who are not familiar with this Pittsburgh-based university, it’s pronounced Duke Kezz Knee.





Wednesday, March 4 – Innovative Clients



Wednesday brought news of a big win for our client at Housing Families First, a Richmond-based non-profit that provides rapid rehousing and support services for families experiencing homelessness. They were awarded the Lora M. and E. Claiborne Robins, Sr. Community Innovation Grant (CIG) for their project Bringing Families Home, which scored them half a million dollars.






Thursday, March 5 – Picture This



On Thursday morning we had The Insider’s Annual Breakfast at The Commonwealth Club. Awards are given out at this “tips and leads” club for “Tipper of the Year” and “Perfect Attendance.” It was a rough year for me and I only was able to attend 54% of the meetings, which landed me the highly-coveted Tipper Gore Award, a photocopy of the estranged wife of Al Gore, in a $1.99 Walmart frame. I am searching for a place in my office to hang it.





Friday, March 6 – Madame President


Regular readers of the Weekly Report were tipped off to this a few weeks ago, but this week we made it official…by sending out a press release. COO Molly Whitfield has been named President of Madison+Main and I am thrilled that the company I founded 15 years ago is in good hands as we embark on our next decade.


A few weeks back, you’ll recall that we rode the Alpha Waves with Marly Fuller of Alpha Wave Adventures. Happy to see that she got some great press in the Progress Index, including a quote from yours truly. If you’re looking for a cool team-building exercise that will help promote creativity and positive-thinking give Marly a call or check out her website. In fact, she dropped by earlier today and did a session with some of our recent hires.





A Few of Our Favorite Events


Lucy Corr’s Lucy Living Lecture | Featuring Mindy Conklin

6709 Roundabout Way | Chesterfield, VA

March 19, 2020 | 2 – 4 p.m.


Mindy Conklin, Executive Director and Founder of Hitting Cancer Below the Belt (HCB2), will share effective ways to prevent diseases such as cancer by focusing on proper nourishment, movement, and breathing. Mindy’s early detection and preventative behavior insights are backed by 20 years of experience in the health industry. Call Maria Bond at Lucy Corr to reserve your seat today at (804) 425-8280!


VA Council of CEOs Annual Retreat

The Omni Homestead Resorts | Hot Springs, VA

April 29 — May 1, 2020

By magnitudes, the single best conference I attend every year. Mix it up with more than 200 small/mid-sized business CEOs, enjoy the wonderful hospitality of Homestead, and prepare to be wowed by the speakers and workshops. You have to be a member to join, but I can help you with that! Call me.


A. Smith Bowman Distillery’s Master Distiller’s Dinner

1 Bowman Drive | Fredericksburg, VA

May 30, 2020 | 6 – 9 p.m.

Master Distiller, Brian Prewitt, will start the evening off with a guided tasting of rare Abraham Bowman Limited Edition Whiskies, accompanied by delectable small bites specifically selected by Chef Jessica Wilkins. Following the tasting, Chef Jessica will treat guests to a 3-course dinner served with carefully crafted bourbon cocktails. Cost for this event is $125 per person and is limited to 40 attendees. All tickets must be purchased in advance via Eventbrite and go on sale April 30 at 9 a.m.



Got an upcoming event you want to share? Can we come? Send us the deets!




“Crazy old people are our entire source of polling information.”

— P.J. O’Rourke