Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign is asking for donations by offering a Platinum card to denote membership in an exclusive tier in exchange. (HT: Tommy L.)
Here’s an email ask, under the name of Donald Trump, Jr.:
Given how critical of a role you’ve played in our movement so far, he could really use you on our team as a 2020 Trump Platinum Member.
Trump Platinum Members will go down in history as the Patriots who won us the 2020 Election, and we really want YOU to be a part of it. If you join today, we’ll even send you your very own PERSONALIZED membership card.
…I’ll be sending my father an updated list of Official 2020 Trump Platinum Members soon and I know he’ll be excited to see your name.
Here, by comparison, is my American Express Platinum card. Is the similarity here a problem? It isn’t just a ‘Platinum card’ but features an image of a person (Trump / a Centurion) in the center and the card’s border is very similar as well.
The Trump campaign certainly appears to have appropriated the trade dress of The Platinum Card. It seems unlikely to me that any potential customer for the card will be confused by the Trump campaign’s use here. I will leave the question of whether the Trump usage of the mark is dilutive to its value.
During the 2004 Presidential election, Starwood Hotels sent cease and desist letters to merchandisers selling George W. Bush memorabilia arguing they were appropriating the W Hotels signature “W.” So trademark disputes by travel and rewards companies during presidential elections is nothing new.
During the 2016 election the Trump campaign had an elite status program (complete with elite membership cards). Even that though is hardly new. The nascent Obama presidential campaign launched Obama Points in 2007.
Of course there really was a Trump Rewards Visa credit card, issued by Chase. It was a 1% rebate card, with rewards at Trump hotel and casino properties. The sample card image was issued to “Jack Pots”
Oddly convicted felon and former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort was something of a credit card rewards hound, showing off a wallet with 13 credits on Nickelodeon in the 1990s.
Weirdest video of the day:
Paul Manafort and his wife, Kathleen, appeared on the 90s Nickelodeon show 'What Would You Do?'
During a segment for "heaviest purse," Marc Summers has Manafort's wallet and pulls out 3 AmEx cards, 9 VISA cards, and another credit card. (via Reddit) pic.twitter.com/J0M41YxbBA
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) September 3, 2019
The ‘Platinum members’ in exchange for a $35 contribution reminds me of an amateurish campaign my dad ran in the 1980s to promote a car dealership sale. He used to voice over his own radio spots (hilarious at the time, albeit perhaps off color for today’s sensibilities). And he promoted a ‘moonlight madness sale’ via direct mail from “Western Express” made to look like a Western Union envelope. The goal of the envelope, of course, was to give it a sense of importance and urgency that led recipients to open it and read the contents.
It’s ultimately the contents though that drive action. It was clear what benefits were being offered during a Moonlight Madness sale on Cadillacs, a little less so what benefits come from being a $35 Platinum member of Trump 2020.