Heart Start Hawaii Foundation
Hawaii Real Estate

What's in a Name?

What's in a Name?

What's in a Name? By: Ryan Oda (RA), MAT What’s in a name? If we are to believe the Hollywood, American corporations, and merchandising and sale executives, a name can mean absolutely everything. A celebrity endorsement has the power to make or break a product, the power to establish credibility or to sully a company’s reputation forever. In 2013, celebrity chef, Paula Deen, lost endorsements from the Food Network, Smithfield Foods, Walmart, Target, QVC, Caesars Entertainment, Home Depot, Novo Nordisk, JC Penny, Sears, Kmart, and Ballantine Books when she was a target of a racial and sexual discriminations lawsuit. More recently, real estate mogul and presidential candidate, Donald Trump, has found himself in hot water with his criticism of Mexican immigrants. Trump is now feeling the full effects of his comments, as business affiliates attempt to distance themselves from him. Macy’s has cancelled its Trump clothing line, NBC has announced that Trump will no longer host “The Apprentice,” Univision has pulled the Trump-funded beauty pageant, and the PGA of America has relocated one of its tournaments from Trump’s Los Angeles golf course. According to Business Insider, Trump has lost an estimated $50.5 million due to his controversial comments. How does this affect Trump’s business affiliations in Hawaii? In November 2006, Trump International Hotel and Tower in Waikiki sold all of its 464 condominium units on the first day. Although reports later showed that Trump had no hand in developing the condotel. As reported by Chris Bailey of Hawaii Magazine, Trump only agreed to license his name to the project, despite being listed as a co-developer of the development. A group of buyers sued for being misled, since Trump played no actual role in the development. The buyers claimed that removing the Trump name would devalue their purchase. Flash forward to 2015. How will Irongate, buyers, and other stakeholders respond to Trump’s highly publicized comments about Mexican immigrants? Will they, like so many others have, decide to sever ties with the Trump brand, or will they continue to trade on a name that has suffered a recent fall from grace? Will Trump’s name continue to offer prestige and credibility, or will it cause potential investors and buyers to pass? There are possible hazards of attaching a brand to a living human being, especially to a celebrity. That is, these endorsers are people, and people do make mistakes. Only time will tell, but the power of a name, for better or worse, is undeniable.

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