Influencer-in-Chief? Trump and Thoburns

January 19th, 2017

A recent advertisement in The Economist for Thoburns, a London-based advertising and public relations agency, features a picture of President-Elect Donald Trump and Nigel Farage, a pro-Brexit U.K. Independence Party leader, smiling widely in front of the golden door at Trump Tower, aka PEOTUS’ transition headquarters.

The ad, entitled “Special relationships start with new ideas,” boasts that Thoburns recognizes the potential of new ideas and how to harness them to “influence” governments, financial communities, lobbyists, journalists and “whoever you need to influence.” It urges readers to call the agency to see if it can create some “special relationships of our own.”

trump-and-farage-magazine-ad

This narrative, accompanied by the large photo of Trump, seems to imply that Thoburns has an inside track to PEOTUS, soon to be POTUS, which led TINA.org to wonder under what circumstances Thoburns obtained the rights to use this photo, and if there is a material connection between Thoburns and Trump, which should have been disclosed.

The picture was reportedly taken by Andy Wigmore, who accompanied Farage during his visit with Trump in November following the election. After Farage tweeted the photo, Wigmore said he received many requests for use of the picture. He sold it to Splash News, a celebrity news agency, and said the proceeds would go to charity.

TINA.org reached out to Thoburns to find out more about the picture’s use in the ad. We also reached out to Trump’s transition team to see if PEOTUS  gave his permission for the photograph to be used in the ad, thus signaling an endorsement from the soon-to-be influencer-in-chief. We asked both if there were any material relationships between Trump and Thoburns, including if Trump had ever been a client.  We haven’t heard back, yet.

The ad comes at a time when some companies are playing duck and cover (and call crisis management!) when Trump mentions them in a tweet, while others, such as Thoburns, are highlighting him.

(See TINA.org’s related story on Trump tweets here.)

Thoburns’ use of the photo of Trump garnered criticism on Twitter, such as this comment:

And this one:

windram-tweet

Check back for further updates and click here for more of TINA.org’s coverage of Trump.

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