Donald Trump touts himself as a “brand” an ineffable, inscrutable, as potent as it is unascertainable, he persuades us, brand. That may have been the case for some number of years, but as of 2015, the brand has been in steady decline. “The wall that he [built] was more around his merchandise than it was around Mexico,” said Marshal Cohen, of NPD group, a marketing research firm who measures retail business trends and who is knowledgeable about all the permutations of the Trump brand. Washington Post:
Eventually, Trump was a smell — a “masculine combination of rich vetiver, tonka bean, birchwood and musk.” Trump was a chandelier. Trump was a mattress. Trump was a steak. “The meat category represents Mr. Trump’s power,” an underling told the media when Trump Steaks launched.
Most notably of all, Trump was a urine test. That’s right, boys and girls of all ages, you could send Donald Trump a sample of your piss and he would analyze it and tell you if you were living right, eating right, or needed a few vitamins in order to buck up. And as Cheeseburger Eater in Chief, he oughta know:
“Take a snapshot of the most critical metabolic markers in your body’s natural waste fluids,” said the website for the Trump Network, a vitamin company that sent its customers urine-sample kits with the Trump logo on them. The tests would be used to determine what vitamins the customer needed, according to archived versions of the Trump Network website.
The rest of the marketing business shook its head. But, for a time, it worked.
“A caricature of what wealth is — as opposed to what real wealth is,” said Milton Pedraza, chief executive of the Luxury Institute, a consultant to luxury brands. Trump sold to those, he said, “who didn’t know the difference.”
The truth of the matter is, Trump can’t merchandise any better than he can govern. And paradoxically, his ascension to the presidency is ruining his brand.
By 2015, when Trump entered the presidential race, some of his more far-out ideas — steaks, urine tests and vitamins — were already kaput. But, according to his financial disclosures, the 19 remaining licensees were still paying him a combined $2.4 million-plus a year just to put the Trump name on their goods.
Then Trump ran for president
Within a few weeks, the number was down to 14. […]
“We are disappointed and distressed by recent remarks about immigrants from Mexico,” said a corporate statement from Macy’s, after Trump called Mexican immigrants criminals and “rapists” at his first campaign event. “. . . We have decided to discontinue our business relationship with Mr. Trump.”
“They’ll all be back,” Trump told Forbes magazine.
A few months later, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States.
He lost another partner, a Dubai-based company that had a license to sell Trump furniture in the Middle East, Africa and India.
That left 13. […]
Two other partnerships — one to sell Trump-branded shoes in Mexico, the other to sell Trump home organizational products — had apparently ended before any Trump-branded merchandise was sold.
That left 10.
Then went Trump coffee, then went the chandeliers and the sconces. Trump vodka is out, so are the ties, the throw blankets people don’t call back and nobody is certain about the partridge in the pear tree. Right now Trump has two companies who use his brand, one making linens and the other furniture. and here’s the bottom line:
When a reporter visited the company’s Chicago showroom recently, there was a room full of sleek, modern, expensive chairs and tables. But the Trump name itself was hard to find, unless you knew where to look.
On one $4,000 end table, for instance, the silver nameplate reading “Trump” — the name Dorya was paying to use — wasn’t on the outside of the piece at all.
To find it, customers had to look inside the drawer.
“He has said that the core Trump Organization asset is the ownership of his brand — an ineffable marketing claim that is impossible to substantiate or refute,” but it sure looks like that core asset has seen better days. Do you suppose that Satan talked him into running for president to increase his brand and make the $10Billion he lies about having? Because this level of irony is worthy of the Father of All Lies before Trump himself qualified for that epithet.