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Macy’s To Dump Trump?


Political polarization and political correctness have hit several marketers below the belt this week. As if business isn’t tough enough already.

Victoria’s Secret felt the pressure of the PC crowd when one of its models was “headdressing” a term I will assign to the phenomenon of wearing something controversial so that you’ll attract attention to yourself and your brand. In this case a scrawny Karlie Kloss wore an Indian headdress. It caused much ado and gave the Victoria’s Secret brand top of mind presence for a couple of days. It also gave Ms. Kloss, who is virtually anonymous the opportunity to publicly apologize giving her personal brand more exposure.

Now it appears Macy’s has found itself in the middle of a controversy that’s really not a controversy. There’s a new Macy’s ad that mixed in footage from “Miracle on 34th Street” with cameos from several of the faces behind Macy’s celebrity brands. There’s Justin Bieber, Martha Stewart, Taylor Swift, and then there’s Donald Trump, skeptical that the old man in the stocking cap and suit is really Santa and tugging on his beard. Macy’s sells a line of Trump-branded ties and fragrances. Stuart Elliot, the New York Times’ advertising columnist, noted that the ad was a “clever twist” on Trump’s notoriety for casting doubt on whether President Obama’s birth certificate and college transcript were real.

Some guy said he was a fan of the retailer and Trump’s brand “doesn’t reflect the magic of Macy’s.” So he created an online petition to urge the retailer to break up with Trump. It’s been steadily gaining traction through social media channels and media pickup. Petitioner guy also spearheaded online efforts to get Glen Beck ousted from Fox News. We can guess which side of the “aisle” the petitioner sits.

For me the real issue is the spot sucks. It lacks any creativity, accomplishes nothing for the Macy’s brand and only exists to trot out it’s “stars”.

I do find it ironic that petitioner guy doesn’t seem to be bothered by Martha Stewart’s presence in the same Macy’s spot. If you recall Martha served time after being convicted for insider trading. But petitioner guy isn’t going after her because that was “a one-time thing,” he said. “Macy’s isn’t building a business on top of her insider trading.”


Well, happy holidays marketers. I wish you a controversial free holiday season!

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