Commentary

Trump Used Media Money To Market An Insurrection

Fifty million dollars. 

That’s the marketing/media spend to promote and message the January 6 rally Washington, D.C. insurrection, according to Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the House of Representative attorneys arguing the case for the impeachment of former President Trump,

Their contention is Trump should be blamed for “inciting” a rally crowd that attacked the U.S. Capitol, ending in five deaths and 140 injuries of police officers.

Swalwell said the marketing effort for the rally started weeks before, with supported emails, peppered by an onslaught of Trump Twitter activity. And there was paid media, as well.

“He spent $50 million from his legal defense fund,” says Swalwell, during the Trump impeachment trial presentation on February 10. In mid-December, the Trump campaign released two nationally distributed online video ads: “Fraud” and “Stop the Steal,” as well as targeted text messaging, said Swalwell.

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“The same words and phrases Trump has been targeting for months,” he says. “These ads were designed to run all the up to January 5 -- and then they stopped.”

YouTube ran now-debunked voting fraud, pro-Trump video ads. In mid-January, YouTube suspended Trump's account from loading new video content.

An estimated $250 million in donations from supporters fueled the media and marketing buy to combat what Trump says was purported widespread election fraud. No evidence to prove that claim was revealed in any media messaging.

Of the $250 million, $50 million went to the media/marketing efforts. Tens of million dollars went to legal fees, according to The New York Times, to pay for 62 state lawsuits. The rest of it? No one knows for sure.

This doesn’t include the value of any “earned media,” starting just after the election in November. That's when Trump made some Fox News Channel appearances -- and sent tweets -- which continued until January 8, when Twitter permanently shut down his account.

One famous December 19 tweet: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

Calculate the return on investment, the engagement metrics, and, most importantly, brand affinity, for all these efforts.

3 comments about "Trump Used Media Money To Market An Insurrection".
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  1. Daniel Ambrose from ambro.com, corp., February 11, 2021 at 11:39 a.m.

    Where does the legal prohibition against false advertising come in here?  One company, attacked with false advertising by another would easily win a stay and recompense.  Why not "the People vs. Trump" here?  The damages are immense; minimally the hundreds of millions for deploying the National Guard, but also ongoing increased security that now must be supplied to 535 representatives and senators untill further notice.

  2. Mario L Castellanos from New Ventures Technologies replied, February 11, 2021 at 5:19 p.m.

    Where do I "Like" and ten claps this?

  3. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, February 12, 2021 at 8:42 a.m.

    @Mario: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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