The Trump Effect: It’s sort of like the Midas Touch but instead of gold, everything President Donald Trump touches turns to, let’s say coal for now. Whether the coal is evident in the brands that publicly support Trump being boycotted or the musicians agreeing to perform at his inauguration being crucified online, forcing them to change their decision. The Trump effect is alive and well, and brand’s should learn to keep their distance and avoid offering support of the 45th President at this point. The United States are still in quite the divide, with Americans trying to sniff out and weed out the closet Trump supporters out of their lives.
Back in 2016, sportswear company New Balance announced that they felt that “things were going to move in the right direction” with Trump in power, and this narrative quickly turned into “New Balance is the first major brand to publicly endorse Donald Trump after the election”. To add more context, the Vice President of Communications for New Balance was referring to Trump’s opposition of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This is a trade deal that essentially awards production overseas. Seems fair enough to be in support of Trump and his stance when your company produces shoes locally right? Wrong.
As usual, people flocked to Twitter to upload videos of themselves burning New Balance shoes, attempting to flush the shoes down the toilet, or flat out vowing to never buy another pair. A few days later, New Balance tweeted out a statement in an attempt to clarify their position and repair damages. The Trump Effect is no joke.
New Balance: "The Obama admin turned a deaf ear to us & frankly w/ Pres-Elect Trump we feel things are going to move in the right direction"
— Sara Germano (@germanotes) November 9, 2016
Most recently, Trump’s name has been involved with retail company L.L. Bean. One of the members of the company board, Linda Bean donated money to the Trump foundation, and there was an uproar on social media once people found out. Grab Your Wallet, a liberal group has been encouraging people to boycott L.L. Bean. Too much, or is it justified? You can check out the response L.L. Bean made to all of this here.
Last week, Trump did his best to repair the damages of the inevitable “Trump Effect” and sent out a tweet encouraging people to support L.L. Bean.
Thank you to Linda Bean of L.L.Bean for your great support and courage. People will support you even more now. Buy L.L.Bean. @LBPerfectMaine
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2017
Which brand will The Trump Effect take over next? In general, it’s probably a fairly good rule to avoid political discussion as a brand and to not choose sides. Especially with Donald Trump being such a polarizing figure, choosing to endorse him or to publicly reject him alienates a good amount of your consumers in practically all sectors. The Trump Effect represents division and avoidance, and it works both ways. Shares of General Motors have dropped after the President tweeted about the fact the Chevy Cruze is manufactured in Mexico and not The United States.
Simply put, there are certain things that are just better left unsaid. My prediction is that we will continue seeing brands support/reject Trump throughout the year. The Trump Effect stops for no one. Drop us a comment below with your thoughts!
Dakarai is an ambitious professional with a passion for advertising and marketing, and is currently employed as an account coordinator for an ad agency in Toronto. When he’s not at the office, he’s most likely trying out a new restaurant, browsing AdWeek, or binge watching something on Netflix. Dakarai, but you can call him Dak. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.