Trump takes political and economic advantage of his historic photo recorded by the police

Trump takes political and economic advantage

For most people, a mugshot would be a disgrace that they would want to erase at all costs. For former US President Donald Trump (2017-2021), on the other hand, it is a brand opportunity and a political weapon.

His glowering, vengeful-looking look captured in a Georgia state jail on Thursday after being booked in prosecution on racketeering and conspiracy charges has quickly become symbolic of his campaign toward the 2024 presidential election.

His campaign team released T-shirts, mugs, stickers and drink liner featuring the first mugshot of a former US president, just hours after the image was released.

On official campaign merchandise, the 77-year-old Republican leader’s photo, showing him with his head slightly bowed and defiant gaze, is accompanied by the caption “Never Surrender” in all capital letters.

Notably missing from the image of the products is the watermark of the local sheriff’s badge that appeared on the original published by authorities.

While such a photo would surely sink any other political candidate, for Trump it fits his defiant heroic victim narrative.

“This mugshot will go down in history as a symbol of America’s defiance of tyranny,” said a fundraising email sent by the “Trump 2024” team, asking supporters and supporters for a $47 donation in exchange for a T-shirt with the new image.

Powerful image

Marketing guru Daniel Binns said the photo could be an “enormously powerful” branding tool for Trump.

“As a marketer, his genius is being able to take everything that is said, accused of, or created, and turned into something that represents the story he wants to tell,” Binns, chief executive of the company, told AFP. marketing consultancy Interbrand North America.

Binns even compared it to the “Hope” legend used by Democrat Barack Obama’s successful 2008 presidential campaign.

“It couldn’t be more different in terms of what it represents, but it was an equally iconic image,” he emphasized.

Trump brand

The photo of Trump dressed in his trademark dark blue suit, white shirt and red tie against a gray background is now arguably one of the most high-profile mugshots in recent memory, joining a gallery that includes former sportsman and actor OJ Simpson and golfer Tiger Woods.

Trump’s acceptance of the image was made clear when he quickly used it to post his first message in more than two and a half years on the X social network, formerly known as Twitter.

In his publication, he included the motto “Never give up” and added the motto “electoral interference”, a common refrain for the four criminal cases against him that he described as a plot by the Democrats to derail their attempt to recover the White House in the next elections.

Some of his most prominent supporters are also using the image as a weapon as the Republican Party seeks to wrest the presidency from Democrat Joe Biden.

“Not all heroes wear capes,” Congresswoman Lauren Boebert wrote on X, alongside the mugshot.

Far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene also used that image, adding: “This is the photo that will win the 2024 presidential election.”

Instead, Trump’s Democratic opponents tried to use him for their own ends.

“No one is above the law,” the Congressional (Lower) House Judiciary Committee wrote to him in X.

Next year Trump will face court proceedings in Georgia on charges of trying to overturn the 2020 election, one of his four pending criminal trials.

Whatever its outcome, the mugshot will exist forever. But the question now is: Could that hurt the Trump corporate brand in the long run?

“The brand doesn’t want to be about anger and defiance. That’s sort of like his political brand and it will work for him in the short term, but the Trump brand itself, in general, isn’t about that,” Binns said.