Senator Stephen Colbert? It Might Still Happen…

When we first heard news of South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint’s pending resignation, our first thoughts turned to Stephen Colbert and his inevitable “campaign” for DeMint’s seat. And of course everyone’s favorite fake pundit was on it quicker than white on rice.

This got us thinking about branding as we asked ourselves: Everyone wants to be new and innovative, but is predictability really so bad? When you’ve established your brand so well that people expect you to do certain things, isn’t that a sign of success?

Certainly looks like it: a new poll released today found that Colbert is South Carolina voters’ top choice to replace DeMint, followed by current Representative Tim Scott and Jenny Sanford, the spurned wife of former Governor Mark Sanford. Here he is on The Colbert Report basking in the crowd’s expectations…

New York Magazine’s Vulture blog listed Colbert followers at #22 on its list of “The 25 Most Devoted Fan Bases” for good reason—he’s a branding genius. The fact that he can do exactly what everyone expects him to do and do it successfully tells us that, in some cases, the act of painting yourself into a well-branded corner might not be so bad.

Back to the real world, though: we all know that Colbert won’t get the seat. Governor Nikki Haley has made that much clear. South Carolina’s senior Senator Lindsay Graham recently told the Huffington Post that Colbert “should go run” if he wants to serve in the senate, because of course he recognizes Colbert’s move as a great—if predictable–PR stunt.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.