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August 28, 2018

Industries That Have Successfully Trumped Their Marketing

Regardless of how people feel about his politics, most individuals acknowledge Donald Trump as a history-making figure who never fails to grab attention. Some industries capitalize on that public interest and use it to shape their marketing campaigns and drive sales. Here are three of them.

1. Food Service

Restaurants frequently offer limited-time items, and some have paid close attention to the president recently and based their menu options on him.

An American-themed restaurant in London called Maxwell’s Bar and Grill sold a MAGA Burger that weighed a whopping one kilogram. It featured two beef patties and one pulled pork patty, along with three kinds of melted cheese and several other toppings. The restaurant began serving the burger before Trump’s visit to the United Kingdom.

Moreover, restaurants in Singapore used the highly anticipated summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to sell their foods. Because one of the purposes of the meeting was to promote peace between the two nations, many products focused on peace. For example, worldwide fast food chain KFC temporarily referred to an option containing four pieces of chicken as a “Four Peace Meal” on its Facebook page.

Also, the owner of a restaurant in Singapore called OSG Bar + Kitchen used the summit as inspiration for putting an American twist on a traditional Singapore dish called Nasi Lemak. It contains coconut rice and chili sauce. The new version was named Harmony Nasi Lemak because harmony is what the two world leaders hoped to achieve. That dish is a permanent addition to the restaurant’s menu.

A Mexican market in Arizona called El Paisano added a Trump-inspired option to its assortment during a burrito-of-the-month promotion. It was called El Trumparito and included generous portions of Mexican rice, buffalo chicken and fries. For fifty cents more, people could get it served “Pence-style” — topped with nacho cheese and red salsa.

2. Collectible Memorabilia

Even non-politically-minded people seem fascinated by the vast array of collectibles that appears whenever a candidate runs for president or gets elected.

A graphic designer named Amy Marsh started creating election-themed paraphernalia in 2008. The success of that initial attempt encouraged her to do the same for every election cycle.

Although Marsh didn’t think Trump would last long in the race, she discovered that the items produced by her company featuring Trump designs sold better than the ones associated with Hillary Clinton. As of May 2016, she made approximately $100,000 from memorabilia related to the 2016 presidential election and said Trump products accounted for about 50 percent of the profits.

Also, American Mint — a company providing specialized, collectible coins — offered a trial version of the Trump Presidential Dollar. Layered with 24-karat gold, it features a detailed engraving of the 45th president.

There’s comedy-writer-turned-figurine-designer Patric Verrone’s Donald Trump figurines, as well. They reportedly sell on eBay for about $100, with one being bought each day.

Using Trump for marketing isn’t easy because the man is so polarizing. Souvenir shop workers say it’s difficult to decide what to sell because people either love Trump and want to support him or would prefer anti-Trump merchandise because they don’t agree with his policies. Even so, marketers have found success with some target audiences, as these examples demonstrate.

3. Print-Based Publishing 

Trump’s frequent, unfiltered tweets set him apart from other presidents. But the man engages in a host of other decisions that spark curiosity — plus sell magazines and books. As such, Trump’s presidency supports the print industry by acting in ways that help publishers release memorable magazine covers or books filled with juicy details.

A recent Time cover featured the work of New York-based illustrator Tim O’Brien. The art features Trump dressed in a suit and staring at a picture of himself dressed as a king and wearing a self-satisfied expression. It undoubtedly gets notice, and that’s the point. Newsweek did something similar with its “Lazy Boy” cover, portraying Trump sitting in a recliner while watching TV and eating junk food.

Interestingly, the president himself apparently knows the value of magazine covers for promotions. Several of his golf clubs feature a fake Time magazine cover with Trump on the cover as part of the decorations.

But putting Trump on a magazine cover doesn’t always pay off. A November 2016 edition of People Magazine that focused on then-president-elect Trump sparked a boycott of the publication by members of the entertainment industry.

The topic of Donald Trump means big business for booksellers, too. Michael Wolff’s White House tell-all “Fire and Fury” accounts Trump’s first nine months in office. It’s one of the best-selling nonfiction titles of the recent several years. It’ll become a TV series, too, and Wolff is working on a sequel.

Trump Provides Content for Creative Marketers

Donald Trump doesn’t fit the typical presidential mold, if there is such a thing. 

However, that’s one of the reasons why professionals in the above industries have struck marketing gold through “newsjacking” — or keeping an eye on what the man does to make headlines and which of those things capture exceptional interest.


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Kayla Matthews writes about digital tech and apps for MakeUseOf, VentureBeat and Lifewire, among others. To read more posts by Kayla, follow her blog Productivity Bytes.

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