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Why Trump Has Already Won

Posted by on Apr. 23, 2011 at 6:34 PM
  • 23 Replies


Media & Advertising

Why Trump Has Already Won

By Matt Egan

Published April 22, 2011 

| FOXBusiness



Running for president may cost nearly $1 billion, but merely mulling a White House run can be awfully profitable.

As the political and business worlds collectively weigh the seriousness of what many see as a publicity stunt, Donald Trump's larger-than-life brand is only growing larger.

If he opts to drop out of the running to be the GOP standardbearer, Trump will have pulled off a brilliant use of free advertising.

Trump, 64, who Forbes estimates is worth $2.7 billion, is everywhere these days. He's dropping by for chats with Bill O'Reilly, visiting the ladies of " The View" and even appearing on the "Today Show." Each outspoken appearance creates headlines, fuels more buzz about his potential candidacy and reinforces his image.

To be sure, only Trump knows what his true intentions are. He may yet announce he is in fact making a run in the wide-open GOP race to unseat President Obama in 2012. But the smart money says that's not happening.

"I don't think there's any question it's a publicity stunt," said Dick Martin, a former AT&T (T: 30.68, +0.55, +1.83%) exec and an expert on public relations and brand management. "Part of his brand is being larger than life and being outrageous. This is perfectly in keeping with that. If anything, it's going to make his brand stronger."

Running or not, a glance at cable TV and the Internet these days shows Trump has captured the attention of the media world. He's made at least 24 appearances on national and cable TV networks since February, according to Politico.

It appears to be paying off, as U.S. Internet searches for "Donald Trump" have surged 332% in the past five weeks and "Donald Trump for president" was the fourth most popular search with his name in it, according to Experian Hitwise. Google (GOOG: 525.10, -0.63, -0.12%) Trends shows Trump is garnering far more search volume than legitimate GOP candidates like Tim Pawlenty.

"Donald Trump is a master at publicity," said Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University. "He has an incredible ability to generate attention and do things that enhance his brand."

Publicity Could Boost Trump's Bottom Line

Trump can parlay an enhanced image into more profits at his sprawling business empire, which spans everything from real estate in New York and golf courses in Scotland to Trump-branded natural spring water and chocolate.

Trump also owns a real-estate brokerage, a model management service, a business that manages two Central Park ice skating rinks, restaurants in New York and Chicago and the rights to a slew of books (all of which have been bestsellers, his site is sure to tell you). Plus, he has plans to build gleaming new hotels in Dubai and New Orleans.

Some believe Trump is merely trying to gin up ratings for "Celebrity Apprentice," his hit TV show that runs on Comcast's (CMCSA: 25.34, +0.47, +1.89%) NBC and pays him a reported $3 million a show.

"Our inclination is that he's not serious about running for president. We think it's a stunt," an NBC exec told Entertainment Weekly this week.

That would make sense as Trump is in the midst of negotiating a new contract for the show, which perhaps thanks to Trump's media blitz has seen its ratings jump as much as 20%. In fact, Trump is expected to announce during the show's season finale a date he will declare whether or not he's truly running for office.

Trump's Already Winning

Few see much risk to the Trump brand from his foray into the political spotlight.

"I don't think it's going to hurt him in any significant way. He's kind of like the P.T. Barnum of our age," said Martin, alluding to the showman who grew famous for his hoaxes and creation of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Of course, flirting with a run for office is nothing new for Trump.

Perhaps in an effort to help his book reach the top of the best-seller lists, Trump reportedly hired a political operative in 1987 to float his name as a possible candidate presidential candidate. He also claimed he was considering a run for the White House in 2000.

Trump isn't alone, however, as Howard Stern and Stephen Colbert pretended to be running for office, albeit in a more openly-joking fashion. Comedian and satirist Pat Paulsen was famous for his phony runs for president.

Other celebrities pulled off the transition to the political sphere, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura and Al Franken.

However, eventually Trump will likely realize the downsides to running for office for real: probing financial disclosures, intense media scrutiny and quitting his TV gig. But that doesn't mean he will have failed.

"I think it will go away and it will accomplish what he wanted to: put himself at the front of the media," said David Schwab, managing director at celebrity consulting firm Octagon First Call.

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by on Apr. 23, 2011 at 6:34 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Apr. 23, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Interesting.  Nothing's just business

by on Apr. 23, 2011 at 6:52 PM

It's all about the hair, I'm sure of it. 

by on Apr. 23, 2011 at 7:47 PM


Quoting EireLass:

It's all about the hair, I'm sure of it. 

by on Apr. 23, 2011 at 11:54 PM

He is an attention whore. He is getting attention, he wins!


by on Apr. 23, 2011 at 11:56 PM

This man has all the money in the world and his hair looks like that. 

by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 12:12 AM

Quoting Liansmommie:

He is an attention whore. He is getting attention, he wins!

And you're helping him win by giving him attention...Ironic isn't it?

by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 9:51 AM

Wow and who cares he all talk 

by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 10:30 AM


by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Quoting janeleesmom:

This man has all the money in the world and his hair looks like that. 

His hair can look like that because he has all the money in the world.  It is his trademark sort of his one fingered salute to the world.  He is showing that when you have money you can get people to kiss your ass and have them do whatever you want.  Even make you look like an ass...Remember it's "Nothing personal...It's just business"

by on Apr. 24, 2011 at 7:56 PM

In leading a running a business, and in running a bloody country, the bottom line of a LOT of issues is (and NEEDS to be) "It's nothing personal, it's just business." Our country has more than enough issues. We don't have the time nor the finances to support every new president's personal causes. Our focus needs to be on returning ourselves back to stability and shedding a LOT of our gradually built up dependence on nearly every other country, ESPECIALLY countries we have NO business doing ANY business with, much less being SO dependent on. And if Trump is willing and able to step up, take the reigns and restore us back to (or get us started ON the restoration) the financial superpower we used to be, then MORE FUCKING POWER TO HIM!

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