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What Two Years of His Tweets Tell Us About 'Master Brander' Donald Trump

By Published on .

Ad Age "Media Guy" columnist Simon Dumenco's media roundup for the morning of Wednesday, July 19:

First off, I just want to publicly disclose that I have not been having any private, undisclosed conversations with anybody that I shouldn't be privately, um, undisclosedly conversing with. Any suggestion to the contrary is fake. That said, if any private, undisclosed conversations are later revealed -- and confirmed by my staff -- then those meetings will technically become publicly disclosed conversations -- thus confirming my total transparency. Got that? Anyway, let's get started ...

1. In a Recode post headlined "NBC has 30 employees working on a daily news show exclusively for Snapchat," Kurt Wagner writes,

The show, called "Stay Tuned," will appear in Snapchat's "Discover" section in the morning and evening each weekday, and once on Saturdays and Sundays. The general news show will feature four or five big headlines, and each episode will be about two and a half minutes in length. ... Snap and NBC will split revenue from ads sold alongside the show, and NBC is fronting all of the production costs, which includes two anchors -- Savannah Sellers and Gadi Schwartz -- and a crew of 30 full-time employees.

+ flashback: "NBC Universal Invests $500 Million in Snapchat at IPO," per Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi, back in March.

2. "Trump and Putin Had Second, Undisclosed, Private Conversation." That's the headline of a story that appears above the fold on the front page of this morning's New York Times; it was initially published online last night, at which point Trump did what he does: Dismiss worrisome news about his administration by slamming the press:

For the record, yes, of course Trump and Putin attended a G20 dinner that was not secret. The intrigue here, as the Times' Julie Hirschfeld Davis reports, is that ...

Hours into a dinner with world leaders who had gathered for the Group of 20 summit meeting, President Trump left his chair at the sprawling banquet table and headed to where President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was seated. ... The meeting was confirmed by the White House only on Tuesday, after reports surfaced that some of the guests had been surprised that it occurred.

And here's the truly weird and unsettling part:

In a separate statement, the White House said the two presidents had spoken through the Kremlin's interpreter because the American translator with Mr. Trump did not speak Russian. Experts in United States-Russia relations said such an encounter -- even on an informal basis at a social event -- was a concern because of its length, which suggested a substantive exchange, and because there was no note taker or national security or foreign policy aide present.

3. Speaking of translators, "Trump Jr.'s Russian 'translator' allegedly laundered billions through U.S. banks" (helpful subhead: "Meet Irakly Kaveladze, the mysterious eighth member of Donny's Trump Tower meeting"), via Vanity Fair's Bess Levin.

4. "Donald J. Trump, the master brander, has never found quite the right selling point for his party's health care plan," write Emily Badger and Kevin Quealy in an interactive nytimes.com story headlined "Trump Seems Much Better at Branding Opponents Than Marketing Policies." "By contrast, dating to the campaign, Mr. Trump has been deft at branding his opponents. ... And he expends far more effort mocking targets than promoting items on his agenda." Badger and Quealy analyzed two years of Trump tweets and, as they dryly note, "You'll notice patterns in how he refers to his political opponents" -- including The New York Times itself. Read on for a graphical representation of those branding patterns.

+ related-ish: "Fox News' on-air graphic about Trump sends Twitter into a frenzy," via The Daily Dot.

5. "Discovery Communications and Viacom, two cable network owners hurt by the rise of Netflix and YouTube, have held separate talks to combine with Scripps Networks Interactive, owner of HGTV and the Food Network," per Bloomberg News (via Ad Age). "Discovery Communications owns networks including its namesake Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and TLC. Viacom's portfolio includes Nickelodeon, BET and MTV."

6. "Time Inc. is mulling a move to cut the frequency of Sports Illustrated again -- from its current 38 issues a year," per Keith Kelly in his "Media Ink" column in this morning's New York Post. He cites a report from the Gannett sports site The Big Lead suggesting a possible switch to 24 issues a year, but Kelly says his sources put the number at closer to 30.

7. And finally, via the FT's Deputy News Editor Tony Tassell:

Thanks to Will Jarvis, Ann-Christine Diaz, Angela Doland, Tam Nguyen, Jeanine Poggi, Laurel Wentz and Chen Wu for their roundup suggestions.

Simon Dumenco, aka Media Guy, is an Ad Age editor-at-large. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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