The Greatest Native Advertising Campaign Of All Time

I walked up Fifth Avenue yesterday.  As always, the sidewalks in the upper 50s were overflowing with tourists.  This area of New York City is where the most prestigious retail brands in the world reside, including Bergdorf Goodman, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and Valentino.  On this day, however, the brand tourists were reacting to, swarming around taking pictures with unbridled excitement, was the name emblazoned on Trump Tower.

I’m not as interested in politics as I am in the marketing of each candidate’s brand -- and Donald Trump’s run for president may be the most brilliant native ad campaign of all time.

Advertising’s first promise is to raise awareness, right?  Is there a platform out there that can rack up more media exposure then running for President of the United States?  Now factor in the efficiency of using other people’s money to fund this media plan, and this becomes the most efficient advertising campaign of all time, too.



Before Trump entered the Republican primary, his name was at best a cocktail party topic.  Today, he has the complete attention of almost 300 million people in the United States. Millions more “over there” are asking what’s going on “over here” with this Trump guy.

Each candidate clearly wants to win this race.  However, unlike Hillary Clinton, who has been working toward the presidency since she entered the business of politics, Trump saw running for president as an amazing business opportunity where he wins even if he loses.

Rumors of launching Trump TV aside, Trump’s core real estate business is no longer building things directly.  He is in the business of licensing the Trump brand to other developers who then go on to build hotels, condos, and other kinds of properties.  By having these developers pay for the rights to attach the Trump name to a project, the Donald cashes in before a room gets rented. Developers get to charge a premium price because the Trump brand, with all the gold trimmings, is affixed to the property.

This presidential run has made the Trump name exponentially bigger domestically and internationally, which in his business mind will fuel further expansion of his real estate licensing business.  Only time will tell if this strategy works, but there is no denying the gain in brand awareness he has already achieved for almost zero dollars of his own.

Both candidates are pathetically reckless with the truth.  Both are significantly flawed.  However, when Hillary Clinton speaks about “the issues,” she does so with more authenticity, based on her experience working in government.  The only time Trump truly sounds authentic is when he speaks about himself.   Anything outside of that circle, and he sounds far less authentic -- just like native advertising.

On Nov. 9, for better or worse, Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States -- and Donald Trump will say he never really wanted the job.  This will leave his supporters feeling duped, the same way native advertising makes consumers feel when they recognize they gave their hard-earned attention to content with a hidden agenda.

8 comments about "The Greatest Native Advertising Campaign Of All Time".
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  1. Ari Rosenberg from Performance Pricing Holdings, LLC, October 21, 2016 at 2:13 p.m.

    @Paula -- please don't misunderstand me here -- I am NOT supporting either candidate with this column I am just pointing out that Trump appears to me, to have used this run at President to build his own brand. 

  2. Len Stein from Visibility Public Relations, October 21, 2016 at 2:28 p.m.

    Native ad campaign? Do you know what that means? His campaign is 'earned media' - not native...which is paid for. Besides this campaign is, thankfully, killing his brand.

  3. Ari Rosenberg from Performance Pricing Holdings, LLC, October 21, 2016 at 2:40 p.m.

    @Len -- I think you misunderstood my column which means I wasn't clear enough -- my bad.  Yes I know what native is -- it's when a brand writes ad copy about something that is indirectly related to their product or service and calls it "content" instead of ad copy that is directly assocaited to their brand, thus misleading the consumer with a hidden agenda.

  4. Harvey Gamm from Townsquare Media, October 21, 2016 at 3:52 p.m.

    I agree that Trump has run a brilliant campaign using native or essentially other people's money, but a stronger case can be made that he has damaged his brand. What rich Liberal will want to move into a Trump building or play on a Trump Golf Course or stay at a Trump hotel? He has aleinated a lot of people and many of his core supporters cannot afford his properties.    

  5. Ari Rosenberg from Performance Pricing Holdings, LLC, October 21, 2016 at 3:58 p.m.

    @ Harvey -- I agree in that it's too early to tell if this all "worked" but I suspect when he licenses his brand to another developer he makes his money righ there regardless if people move into the building or play the golf course etc -- so the question becomes do developers run and hide and I sense they won't be who know.  Thanks for weighin in.

    @ Len -- after reading your comment/question "do you know what native means" I have been thinking more and more about how to define it -- so thanks for that push I appreciate it really.  Native advertising is fake content.  That's what I am suggesting Trump has done with his presidential campaign.  Good for him or bad for him we'll see -- but I don't he ever wanted the job of president I think he liked the idea of it and realized running will help his business.

  6. Alvin Silk from Harvard Business School, October 21, 2016 at 5:32 p.m.

    ._.. Donald Trump’s run for president may be the most brilliant native ad campaign of all time."

    Two questions:
    What do you mean by "brillian"? "Notorious," "disrepuatable,"dysfunctional," "most exploiutative abuse of the doctrine of permissible puffery,"....

    Do you also judge Trum to be a "genius"?

  7. Ari Rosenberg from Performance Pricing Holdings, LLC, October 21, 2016 at 6:09 p.m.

    @Alvin -- I am not a Trump supporter (at all) but I don't judge those who are -- my ONLY point here is that he presented himself as a candidate for president (however poorly you and many other perceive that to be) when in reality he ran for president to garner free media exposure at the highest levels to further build up the Trump brand.   He never planned on winning this election but he does plan on capatlizing on the exposure by making more money through real estate licensing deals.  To me when you produce and serve fake content with a hidden agenda -- you line up with "native advertising" which is what Trump essentially did -- I hope that answers your first question and as for him being a genius -- I would have to be one to vote on that but I do see a guy who exploited the system to his advantage and that may prove to be a shrewd and very smart move for his business -- time will tell

  8. Chuck Lantz from, network, November 4, 2016 at 6:07 p.m.

    "Both candidates are pathetically reckless with the truth."

    Really?  Both, equally reckless?  Valid and verifiable numbers say otherwise.  By a bunch.

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