Hey, What About All Those Trump Magazines That Failed?

I was starting to believe the magazine industry was being ripped off.

Until the past weekend, I hadn’t seen any Trump branded magazines among the many lists of Trump failures appearing. I recalled some as I blogged about them nine years ago.

Even better, my friend Dylan Stableford, now covering the campaign for Yahoo News, was back then at the trade magazine Folio: and in 2007, was already covering the parade of Trump magazine failures.

Trump Style | Started in 1997, Failed circa 2004
Trump World | Started in 2004, Failed 2007
Trump Magazine | Started in 2007, Failed circa 2009

There has probably been more Trump magazines launched (and failed).
I know just who to ask. Oh, Mr. Magazine?

P.S. This feels like the early days of this blog.

A Good Day for Nashville

(Note: I posted this originally for friends on my Facebook account, but decided I should add it here so that one day, when I forget where I posted it, it will be here.)

For those of you who do not live in Nashville, the following item is about a mayoral election we had yesterday — the culmination of a year-long (or longer) campaign between seven candidates in which incredibly large amounts of money were spent by most of the candidates. We now have a run-off between two candidates who, in my opinion, would both would be great mayors.

I am relieved this morning, knowing that Nashville’s next mayor will be one of two people who I am convinced are thoughtful, committed and smart people. While they will both use labels to define the other candidate, they both fit in the mold of the recent mayors who have served the city well.

Fortunately, we had a field of candidates who could have also fit that bill.
I feel certain that if I polled those who are my friends who live in Nashville (both the Facebook kind and the kind who I have dinner with on the weekends), I would discover that most supported one of the two run-off candidates.

Some of my closest, long-time friends are even playing key roles in the campaigns of both of the two candidates. (I also have close friends who worked on several of the other campaigns, as well.)

And one of the candidates is a long-time friend.

I am going to attempt to keep my Facebook account a runoff-free zone, but today, I think it’s a good day for Nashville’s future.

First, I’d like to blame the media and bloggers

In Tennessee, a state senator resigned late yesterday in the final stage in a political scandal scenario that has become such a cliche that I developed a nine-step, fill-in-the-blanks version of it two years ago:

1. Politician _______s.
2. Rumors circulate that politician ________s.
3. Politician denies rumors.
4. Politician caught _____ing.
5. Politician says, “I did not _____, it was a misunderstanding.”
6. Politician blames media and bloggers.
7. Past partners, victims or witnesses show up to prove politician _______s all the time.
8. Politician admits he’s __________ed.
9. Politician apologizes to his family and to those who trusted him, blames it on alcohol and enters rehab.

(Please note: every scandal has its nuance — the nine-steps are merely a “framework” for ridicule and not a scientific formula.)

In this current Tennessee case, the state senator’s resignation came at the end of a boilerplate scandal: “family values lawmaker gets blackmailed by boyfriend of the intern with whom the lawmaker is having an affair.” (I apologize if I got some of the specifics of the scandal wrong in that description, as I make it a practice to tune out all but the beginnings and ends of any “news” related to lawmakers and interns, blackmail or hikes along the Appalachian Trail.)

I mention this resignation only to note how he followed step #6 even after the resignation, but then caught himself in recognition of the irony of blaming “the media and bloggers” in the context of a confessional. From the Nashville Scene, here’s a quote from the resigning senator’s on a radio talk show:

“I think a lot of people express frustration with the changing professionalism of journalism. That is, journalists used to have to verify sources and verify information before they put it out there. I guess with the blogosphere and just more people being engaged and the advent of the Internet, people get on the Internet or the airwaves or whatever and just say whatever, and I think they need to be more cognizant of they way they treated …

At that point, the lawmaker apparently recognized how ironic he was beginning to sound.

One last thing — a prediction.

The next politician who resigns will include “Twitter” in his list of things to blame.

Later: Upon reflection, I’ve decided to suggest to lawmakers they skip trying to keep up all the different web-based channels of expression they should blame and just blame “the media and every damn fool with a computer or an iPhone.”

The 9 Steps of a Political Scandal

Les Jones wonders if Le’Affaire Sanford will follow my “10 Steps of Political Scandals” from April 28, 2007. If you don’t remember the steps (I didn’t), here they are (except there are only nine because I mis-counted). Just fill in the blank with discretions like “shoplifts,” “takes drugs,” or “gets caught in bed with a dead girl or live boy”* :

1. Politician _______s.
2. Rumors circulate that politician ________s.
3. Politician denies rumors.
4. Politician caught _____ing.
5. Politician says, “I did not _____, it was a misunderstanding.”
6. Politician blames media and bloggers.
7. Past partners, victims or witnesses show up to prove politician _______s all the time.
8. Politician admits he’s __________ed.
9. Politician apologizes to his family and to those who trusted him, blames it on alcohol and enters rehab.


*Famous quote of former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards, an expert in political scandals.

Is Obama’s Blackberry endorsement worth $50 million?


Now that we have world peace and the economy is under control, we can turn our attention to the important stuff, like President Obama’s Blackberry. Over the weekend, we learned he’s getting to keep his Blackberry, except, maybe it won’t be a Blackberry, but a super-secure Sectéra Edge from General Dynamics. Of course, Microsoft was quick to say, hey wait, he should use a U.S. product (i.e., one running Windows CE) rather than a Blackberry, a product from Canada, a country where lots of people speak French. No word yet from Apple, despite the iPhone playing a supporting role in his campaign communications success.

Unfortunately, the White House email server crashed this afternoon and no one there is getting email anyway. And you thought that just happened where you work.

President Obama’s love of his Blackberry is the type of unsolicited endorsement that comes along once in a marketer’s dream life. I’m sure there is some group crunching away at the equivalency value of the millions of mentions of the Blackberry brand in the media’s obsessed coverage of this puffery. The New York Times ran a story a couple of weeks ago suggesting Obama’s “endorsement” is worth $50 million to the brand.

And even with the device reportedly being the Sectéra Edge, every article is still using the word “Blackberry” to define the category of wireless device it is.

But is the Obamadorsement really helping Blackberry? According to the Wall Street Journal this morning, the company that markets Blackberry, Research in Motion, has sold only 500,000 unites of its new model, the Storm, about 20% of the units of the Apple iPhone that sold during the the same period after its introduction.

Even Obama can’t revive some things.

The notion that a President would actually “endorse” a product may seem far-fetched, but you could argue that Presidents spend a big chunk of their time doing ceremonial activities that are, in effect, a way in which they can lend their stature and media-big-stick to raise the attention of industries and causes. And it’s extremely well documented that if a President mentions he likes a book, the sales sky-rocket in a way that rivals only an Oprah nod. A recent example is the Obama-touted Team of Rivals and perhaps the best known example is Ronald Reagan turning Tom Clancy into a rock-star author by calling his Hunt For Red Octoberunputdownable.”


President Kennedy tried to pump up sales of a Navy buddy’s
hat company, but hat sales still sunk.

My favorite — and perhaps most obscure — story about an overt attempt by a President to help boost the sales of a product is one I read about years ago in the magazine American Heritage. Thanks to Google, I found the remembered article — actually an editor’s letter — on the American Heritage website* and the photo it describes (but is not on the American Heritage site) on the website of the JFK Library.

It has long been an urban legend that President Kennedy is the reason men stopped wearing hats in the early 1960s. (Snopes.com has a great de-bunking of the myth with photos of Kennedy wearing a top-hat at inaugural-day functions.) But the fact remains that Kennedy, who rarely wore a hat, was perceived even at the time as exacerbating the already-established trend away from hat-wearing by men.

However, President Kennedy one time purposefully had himself photographed with a hat as an active form of product endorsement — what today we’d call a “product placement.” He did it as a favor for a Navy buddy who had served with him on the famous PT 109.

Here’s how the story goes in American Heritage:

“After his PT service, (Al Webb) became vice president of sales for Cavanagh Hats. With his fellow skipper’s famous bareheadedness ravaging his enterprise, Webb had Cavanagh run up two fine custom hats and hurried to the White House to give one to the President and one to Kennedy’s long-time friend, a businessman named Red Fay.

“Al removed the hats from their boxes as though they were fragile Stradivarii,” recalled the writer William Manchester, who was on hand for the presentation. “Jack and the Redhead tried them on. . . . Al stood back to observe the effect. He said unconvincingly, ‘You both look great.’ Jack and Red looked at each other and burst out laughing. ‘Al,’ said the President, ‘are you willing to destroy the beloved image of our country’s leader just to save the hat industry?'” Manchester thought the hats made the two men “look like a couple of house detectives.” Webb retreated, “crestfallen.”

…”Kennedy met the challenge in his own way. The next day he greeted former President Eisenhower at Camp David and thereafter sent Al a picture of the great occasion: It showed Kennedy leaning forward, his right hand extended; in his left hand he held a hat, the lining facing out toward the camera. The Cavanagh Hats label was plainly visible!”

As stylish as Kennedy was, however, the hat never made a comeback in men’s business fashion.

And despite the well-publicized ‘addiction’ of President Obama to his Blackberry, it will be interesting to monitor what sort of sales bump his endorsement will have.

[Photo via: JFK Library.]

*While the website still has some prominent links to Forbes.com, the magazine in now owned independently.