Donald Trump for President

by Site Author

Last week, American politics ground to a halt. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Donald Trump announced his candidacy in the 2016 presidential election. Trump’s campaign—“Make America Great Again!”—promises to fundamentally alter the country’s history.

Of course, no one but Trump believes that. His campaign brings joy only to the country’s late-night comedians. Jon Stewart called the campaign “a crazy train,” whose biggest contribution would be to make other, fringe Republican candidates seem sensible.

Is Trump’s campaign an act of insanity? Surely Trump knows that he will never be president. So why enter the race?

A presidential campaign, however short lived, offers Trump one enormous benefit: free publicity. With one, small-scale media event, Trump had his name in every media outlet in the country. That publicity is like oxygen for his branding and licensing business, an operation that depends on name recognition. In that sense, what the country witnessed last week was not amateurish politics, but rather professional marketing.

Some call such a phenomenon “earned media.” Instead of paying for advertisements, Trump tricked the media into providing him with exposure for free. And there exists a long history of people similarly driving down crazy street for the publicity.

Shep Gordon, the famous music manager did something similar for his first client, Alice Cooper. In 1972, Alice Cooper was a promising, but completely unknown act. Gordon booked Webley Arena for Cooper’s British debut. The arena seated 7,000, and few tickets were sold.

Gordon faced an expensive and embarrassing prospect: a rock star playing to an empty arena. At the time, Cooper and Gordon didn’t have the resources to pay for the enormous, traditional advertising campaign that would have filled the arena. So Shep Gordon improvised.

They hatched a plan to make the six o’clock news by hiring a billboard truck to display a 40ft risqué picture of Alice wearing nothing but a boa constrictor — and then have it “break down” on Piccadilly Circus creating traffic chaos.

The police arrived with a tow truck to take the offending vehicle to the pound but no sooner had it arrived there than it was mysteriously “fixed” and taken back to “break down” on Piccadilly Circus again.

This happened twice before furious police officers locked up the driver. By then the traffic jam snaked back 15 miles and helicopters filmed the gridlock for the TV news.

The concert sold out. Alice Cooper went on to become one the most-famous rock stars of the era.