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Brands distance themselves from Trump

News, 03 July 2015

NEW YORK: He may be a billionaire and a US presidential candidate, but many brands have concluded that the nation's Hispanic community is more valuable to them than any potential association with Donald Trump.

Macy's, the department store chain, has joined a growing list of brands that have ended their relationship with "The Donald" following his comments about Mexicans when he announced his intention to seek the Republican presidential nomination.

Most would-be politicians might think it wise to avoid alienating almost one fifth of the electorate before the end of their first campaign speech, but following Trump's derogatory remarks about Mexican immigrants to the US, no amount of subsequent back-peddling was likely to rescue the situation. "Some, I assume, are good people," he said at the time.

Later he went on ABC News to explain: "I love the Mexican people, I have great respect for Mexico."

But consistency has not been a watchword in how the Trump brand has handled the PR disaster. When Macy's said it was ending its ties to Trump, he accused it of supporting illegal immigration and added that it had been his decision to end the relationship.

And in comments that will surely have upset another large ethnic minority, he said that he had never been happy that the Trump menswear collection sold at Macy's was made in China, MediaPost reported.

The first brand to sever ties was Univision, the Hispanic TV network owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. Trump promptly replied that he was suing Univision for $500m in damages.

Another network, NBCUniversal, which has worked with Trump on the Miss Universe pageant and Trump's own reality television series, The Apprentice, also ended its relationship with him.

The billionaire advised that "their contract violating closure of Miss Universe/Miss USA will be determined in court".

While Trump struggles to extricate his candidacy from this mire, marketers have long known the importance of the Hispanic community, which is predicted to make up almost one third of the population by 2060.

Nielsen data, for example, shows they spend at least $10 more per visit than the total market (Hispanic and Non-Hispanic combined) on all forms of consumer packaged goods.

And brands have extensively researched Hispanic consumers and their media habits, finding they are more likely to share content and engage with brands online than the general population.

Data sourced from ABC News Radio, MediaPost; additional content by Warc staff