Thursday, January 12, 2017
President Shill? Trump as Brand Influencer
I took a little break from blogging, and look what happens. The United States elects a man who knows nothing but self promotion, and profiting off the backs of others, to their highest office.
Trump is not yet in office, but is using his very big soap box to manipulate stock prices as a bully tactic to tell aerospace companies and automakers where to put their factories. (Although the corporations themselves say it's a coincidence.)
How is this a matter for "The Ethical Adman"? Look above. The PEOTUS is literally telling his followers to buy certain brands, as if he is a paid shill. Is this also "unpresidented"?
Welcome to the United States of America in the reality television era, where someone like Kylie Jenner can make up to $300,000 per post as a paid "brand influencer" on Instagram. Trump is part of this world — a world television viewers and social media users created — and he seems to think it's his job as future leader of the "free world" to punish and reward brands depending on whether they support him politically or not.
The most worrisome part of this phenomenon is Trump's open hostility towards certain media outlets. He used his first press conference since the election to call BuzzFeed a "failing pile of garbage" and CNN a "fake news site" from a position of ultimate power.
And that's not all:
Advertising, entertainment, politics, and the personal vendettas of a singularly unqualified president-elect: it's all one big stinking mess in 2017.
UPDATE: JC tells me that LL Bean has already stated it doesn't want Trump's endorsement.