Icarus meets the Phoenix, that crazy Donald Trump

Trumpfiredjpg Donald Trump, he’s a polarizing guy, isn’t he?  Either you think he’s a total moron or you think he’s an absolute idiot.

The Apprentice, his TV show, has been a disaster from a branding point of view.  Just when we were beginning to think that Mr. Trump might not be a "short fingered vulgarian," he stages a show that removes all doubt.

What I really dislike about the show is the way it distorts our idea of capitalism and marketing. 

Sure there are moments in the corporation when the knives come out, but I would be astonished to learn that people are ever obliged to stand up and denounce one another.  Mr. Trump, I believe you are thinking of the show trials of Stalinist Russia.  Oh, don’t feel bad.  It’s an easy mistake to make.  I get them mixed up all the time. 

Further more, unless the profession has changed over the weekend, marketing is not a matter of amateur dramatics in the streets of Manhattan.  In the show last time, the team created a "marketing campaign" for the Gillette Fusion that obliged them to take to the streets in their bathrobes.  In the only other show I have seen, the team gave a public Karaoke performance.

Mr. Trump, no one does this.   This is not marketing.  It may be good television but…oh, let’s be honest, it’s moronic television. 

What is it about this guy?  Once a decade, he rises like a Phoenix, not from the flames but his own ignominy…only to screw it up all over again.  Some day, Donald Trump will make a interesting subject for someone writing about self branding and celebrity construction.  For the moment, he’s, well, an embarrassment to us all. 

10 thoughts on “Icarus meets the Phoenix, that crazy Donald Trump

  1. The Owner's Manual

    The contestants came up with the idea of the bathrobes. They were not ‘obliged’ to.

    Perhaps this is more an indication of what marketing means to college-educated, successful-in-their-own-field, young entrepreneurs.

    Given the amount of money the candidates have to spend on their campaigns, I wouldn’t expect much, anyway.

  2. Mike

    Could you elaborate further on this topic for the naive college crowd. It’s silly marketing but why isn’t it marketing. Thanks.

  3. Grant

    T.O.M. and Mike, yes, but why did they have this idea. I would argue that did it because it made for “good television.” And if money is the problem, they can surely give them more. It ends up looking like a skit at camp or junior high, something sustained by energetic young people who don’t mind making themselves look ridiculous. But it isnt camp and it isnt junior high, it’s marketing and, now to address Mike’s question, that turns out to be something, in the best cases, very smart people and corporations spend lots of time, money and talent working out, drawing upon massive amounts of intelligence, imagination and strategic firepower. But even in the worst of cases, its neve as bad as this. I mean, you’d have to be a real estate developer to think this has anything to do with marketing. Wait a second… Thanks, Grant

  4. Auto

    I’ve only seen the show once, an episode where the teams worked with Pepsi’s marketing/package design staff to come up with a new bottle and marketing campaign.

    Their ideas were laughably retarded — what passes for creativity from second year MBAs going to work for Goldman in corporate finance who are taking a marketing class needed to graduate.

    My sense is that winners and losers are determined more by personality and inter-personal dynamics than by being creative and having genuinely clever ideas. The more contestants behave like Trump wanna-be’s, the better their chances to advancing into the next round.

    I once heard a woman say that one of her law professors had told the class that his college age daughter and her friends liked to play a game called “How much would you have to be paid to have sex with . . .?”

    The kids decided that in the case of The Donald, all the money in the world was not enough.

    The episode I saw showed the inside of Trump’s apartment. Apparently, he and Saddam Hussein have the same interior designer.


  5. Grant

    Auto, thanks, well said, and most amusing, I think maybe the thing to do here is to lock Donald Trump and, say, Sergio Zyman in a corporate boardroom/wire cage. The rule: they can only talk about marketing. Thanks, Grant

  6. Tom Guarriello

    Boy, I couldn’t agree with you more, Grant. People who believe Trump method of “inteviewing” leaders by presenting this kind of (heavily edited) nonsense have no more idea of what it takes to run a business than they do of how to split an atom.

  7. Grant

    Tom, That’s it, surely no one who knows anything about the capitalism, corporation, marketing or the world watches the show. What sort advertiser would want these demographics? Thanks, Grant

  8. Donny H

    Seems silly and edgy marketing is especially important to brand promoting these days. A very recent issue of Businessweek magazine speaks on major players in the Spanish market choosing this direction on the heels of traditionally producing very earnest stylized branding and advertisment packages.

  9. Jack Yan

    I won’t comment this time on Mr Trump, but I have to say some of the ideas these contestants come up with are abysmal. Makes me wonder what is being taught in B-schools.

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