It comes as little surprise that the most Googled questions about the GOP presidential front-runner include "What did Donald Trump say yesterday?" and "What did Donald Trump say now?" Despite—or more likely because of—his many colorful and frequently incendiary comments on the campaign trail, Trump has become the breakout political brand of this election cycle.
But the fact is that Trump is many brands. He's put his name on hotels, apparel, golf courses, furniture and fragrances, while past products include steaks, mortgages, vodka, bottled water and a board game. And while some of his business partners have distanced themselves in the wake of Trump's more candid remarks, there seems no question that he remains one of the most consumable figures of our time.
How might a consumer live like Trump, dress like Trump, even smell like Trump? (Should one feel so compelled.) Let us count the ways.
Live Like Trump
Donald Trump's home furnishings collection made its debut in 2007. The line features everything from TV cabinets to bar stools, all of them "inspired by the diverse locations and architecture of Donald Trump's five-star luxury properties around the globe." Trump's recent comments about Muslims have cost him, however. Dubai-based Landmark dropped Trump's furnishings from its 180 stores across the Middle East and Asia in December. At press time, Trump.com still listed a full complement of home furnishings, including chandeliers.
Dress Like Trump
The Donald J. Trump Signature Collection—a line of suits, shirts and power ties—debuted at Macy's in 2004. But following Trump's comments last summer about some Mexicans being drug traffickers and rapists, the store dropped the collection, saying "statements made by Donald Trump … are inconsistent with Macy's values." Via Twitter, Trump retorted that "Macy's stores suck." Manufacturing giant PVH also bailed on Trump in light of his comments, and bloggers have taken considerable delight in pointing out that much of Trump's apparel is, in fact, made in Mexico.
When NBC debuted The Apprentice in 2004, star Trump made "You're fired!" a national catchphrase. Four years later, the network expanded the franchise with the Celebrity Apprentice. Both series notched good ratings. But his comments on the campaign trail led NBC to join ranks with other corporate partners and end its relationship with Trump. (For the 2016 season of The Apprentice, NBC has signed Arnold Schwarzenegger.) As TV critic James Poniewozik observed, "Like reality TV itself, Mr. Trump is a love-or-hate proposition."
Golf Like Trump
Donald Trump loves to play golf. He even wrote a book about it (The Best Golf Advice I Ever Received). But he's also wound up in a few sand traps. In December, following Trump's comments about banning Muslims from the U.S., his name mysteriously vanished from his golf resort in Dubai—only to reappear a few days later. Meanwhile, Trump lost a court battle to keep an offshore wind farm from molesting the view of his course in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Trump has since turned his attention toward Ireland's Doonbeg Golf Club, which he purchased in 2014 for a reported $13 million. Trump's empire now counts 16 golf courses. "I'm a five handicap in golf but a plus-five in real estate," Trump has said.
Smell Like Trump
Donald Trump's first foray into cologne was in 2004, when Estée Lauder launched Donald Trump: The Fragrance. That scent lingers on—on eBay, at least. Trump produced two others: Empire by Trump and Trump Success, which "captures the spirit of the driven man," according to Trump's website. But consumers who want to capture the spirit will need to move fast. Last summer, Perfumania, the maker of both fragrances, joined the ranks of brands that cut ties with the candidate. At press time, Amazon had dropped the price of the three-piece Success gift set from $62 to $29.86.
Sleep With Trump
If you can't afford the $2 million to $16.5 million for a condo in Trump Tower in New York, there's always the option of spending the night at one of Trump's nine U.S. and five international hotels. A two-bedroom suite at the Trump Hotel Chicago goes for $1,046.25 a night. As posh as Trump's properties are, one has proven a PR liability for the developer. In October, when employees of Trump's hotel in Las Vegas staged a pro-union protest, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton joined them.
Vote for Trump
Trump's political life dates back to 1987, when GOP activist Mike Dunbar started a campaign to draft him for a presidential run. Trump made headlines in 1999 when he quit the Republican party and suggested he might run the following year as a Reform Party candidate. He didn't. Rumors that he would enter the presidential contest in 2004 and 2008 also came to nothing. In 2011, Trump spent months questioning President Obama's birth certificate, and while he opted not to run for the White House in 2012, he said at the time, "I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and, ultimately, the general election." Finally, in a speech at Trump Tower in New York last June, Trump announced that he would run for president. It was there that he would make his infamous comments about some Mexicans being rapists and bringing drugs and crime into the U.S. NBC, home to Trump's The Apprentice, cut ties with him—only to invite him to host Saturday Night Live weeks later. Other brands including Nascar, Macy's and ESPN also distanced themselves. None of it seemed to matter much to the electorate. In a CNN poll of registered Republican and conservative-leaning voters just before Christmas, Trump continued to lead the GOP pack, earning the support of 39 percent of voters.
Learn From Trump
In 1987, Trump landed on bookshelves—and the best-seller list—with The Art of the Deal. A monument of the excessive '80s, the book is tonally very Trump, though ghostwriter Tony Schwartz claimed to have done the actual writing. Since then, Trump's name has graced the covers of 15 more books, including The Midas Touch, which he co-wrote with Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki. According to the financial-disclosure report Trump filed amid his current presidential run, only those two titles—along with 2015 political manifesto Time to Get Tough—are still paying him reportable royalties, to the tune of $80,000 to $200,000 a year. According to the filing, Trump pulls in some $1.75 million in speaking fees.
This story first appeared in the Jan. 18 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.