The Jury Talks Back

7/29/2019

Team Trump’s Smart Marketing Strategy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 7:27 am

[guest post by Dana]

A week ago, JVW humorously walked us through the campaign swag of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. He also included some items from from the Trump shop, including the TRUMP straw. Marketing genius, apparently:

Brad Parscale had just boarded a Jet Blue flight earlier this month when the paper straw he was using ripped in half.

As he tried to keep his iced tea from spilling onto his suit, the annoyed Trump campaign manager tweeted that he was “so over paper straws.” Prodded by his wife not to leave it at that, Parscale emailed his staff from the air with an idea: Let’s sell plastic Trump straws.

In short order, the campaign sent an email to supporters with the subject line, “Making straws great again.” By the time Parscale landed in Florida, the presidential straws were already in production and an advertising campaign was up and running. The first batch was sold out within hours.

The “ploy was part of a strategy to stoke and validate the grievances of Trump’s base — and then turn them into hard cash, has been a major success:

The straws (they are actually reusable and recyclable) have been a cash cow, generating more than $456,000 in sales since they first became available July 19, according to the campaign. That and other offerings have attracted scores of new donors to the Trump campaign, and helped the president build a massive early financial advantage over Democrats.

Even Democrats are taking notice and begrudgingly acknowledge the successful marketing strategy:

“I think something Trump has always understood very clearly is how to tap into a cultural moment or zeitgeist and leverage it to his advantage,” said Tara McGowan, a top Democratic digital strategist who served on a pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC during the 2016 campaign and has been active in the climate change movement. “So for him, taking a relatively new thing in the world that most people hate (paper straws) and leveraging it to both make a political statement and raise [hundreds of thousands] of dollars by selling plastic straws is both brilliant and sinister.”

[Ed. sinister??]

Following the Trump playbook, Team Trump zeros in on Trump supporters’ resentment of all things politically correct, as well as their love of country. Many items sold are on the cheap side, and as such, draw in new, small donors for whom this might be the first time they are giving to a campaign.

The overall strategy is working.

Additionally, although it sells for $45, three months ago, the Trump campaign had raked in $45 million from the sale of nearly one million MAGA hats. I haven’t taken the time to research it but it would be interesting to know whether the campaign sees an uptick in sales of Trump swag after he goes on tweet rants attacking Democrats (four Democratic congresswomen, Elijah Cummings this weekend, etc). Also, it’s curious there’s no “Send Them Back” swag in the Trump shop yet. Seems like that would be a real moneymaker…

–Dana

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