COMMENTARY – Art in the deal

by Jeff Burgar

There are many similarities between who might be the next president of the United States, Donald Trump, and dictators around the world.

So many similarities, but also differences!

For example, while Trump plasters his name far and wide, we don’t often see giant photographs, flags, or murals with his happy, smiling face. Contrast that to Fidel Castro, the late Hugo Chavez and Mao Zedong, Kim Il Jong and so many others. Trump doesn’t do that.

But does he miss an opportunity to brand? Trump Plaza. Trump Hotels. Trump Taj Mahal. Even real estate no longer owned by Trump often still carries his name. Some are licensed, hoping to cash in on the fame of Trump.

Perhaps one might say these days, Trump is not famous, but notorious. He is labelled as a racist, a bigot, sexist and intolerant. He carries much baggage, being anti just about anything, but especially Muslims. He is also down on illegal immigrants, especially Mexicans. He doesn’t like foreign manufacturing. He threatens to tax the heck out of Chinese products, and has also indicated a few times Mexican and Canadian free trade will be rolled back. He blasts the media. On it goes.

This is all Trump’s flavour of “Make America Great Again”. It makes him quite a popular fellow in some corners.
He may not be so popular among those who call themselves “thinking” Americans, the ones who sniff at rednecks, the ones who carry political correctness to extremes. They are political “insiders” and Trump is an outsider. It’s quite a schmoz when Trump opponents from all parties can’t agree what to do, other than he must he stopped.

In any case, Trump takes branding seriously. He doesn’t hang up flags, but he definitely puts up signs. Lots of them! Big ones, with his name on them!

Big business does the same. Football and hockey teams mark up their turf with their names. Nascar tracks proudly display, depending on the track, “This is Daytona,” or “This is Talledega”.

It’s been said this branding is why they pulled out of major sponsorship of the World Golf Championship at Trump’s Doral golf course in Florida. Trump’s signs are bigger than everybody else, including the name of the golf course!

Seriously, as a business person, would you really want to offend a potential president by canceling a sponsorship? Only if you honestly figured you were not getting bang for your buck.

In fact, this really explains something. Trump doesn’t want to build giant walls to keep people out. He just wants more space to hang his name. Walls hundreds, perhaps thousands of miles long. His name every 500 feet and 50 feet high. Maybe designed to show his name from space.

So who needs a giant photo?

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