Take a look at the cover of the latest issue of The Drum and you’ll find a rather creepy amalgamation of two very famous Americans, whose influence and fame have traveled around the world – albeit for very different reasons.
Trump’s cartoonish visage and outlandish actions have created the perfect subject matter for creative people everywhere, but particularly for those who can give as good as they get – magazine publishers.
For while Trump may have chosen to make an enemy of much of the media, they’ve responded in kind by making a mockery of his mug. And by making him the cover story, they’re helping to unite readers under a common goal – and in many instances boosting readership in the process, as we discover in our feature on how publishers are benefiting from ‘Trump bumps’.
Andrew Rae, the UK-based illustrator who was commissioned to produce the ‘Trumplandia’ cover for the New York Times Magazine, says in tumultuous times, people need humor to get them through. Speaking of his creation, he says: “I think the image allows you to look at a scary subject and laugh about it. People need a release and the laughter holds back the tears.”
And from Donald to Mickey, we turn our attentions to another symbol of America. Delving into Disney’s plans for international expansion in China and beyond, our media columnist Ian Burrell finds that for the House of Mouse, the challenge lies in translating its cultural currency in other territories. No mean feat then. “In the US you don’t ‘learn’ Disney, it’s like a social fabric,” says Andy Bird, chairman of Walt Disney International. “That isn’t the case in many markets.”
Elsewhere in the magazine we cast our attention to another outsider who has crossed cultural borders – from British comedy to American primetime, breaking down social barriers and promoting the fun of a good old-fashioned sing-song along the way. James Corden, host of The Late Late Show, has turned a TV segment into an online video phenomenon with Carpool Karaoke, which has featured a host of big names including Adele and Michelle Obama. We hear from Corden on the genesis of the idea, finding out what ingredients make his particular brand of content so successful.
From the Americas to Europe to Asia and beyond, brands everywhere are grappling with how to become more relevant in people’s lives. One way that’s manifesting itself is the trend of brands reinventing urban areas to create branded experiences with a twist, as JKR strategy director Katie Ewer explores in the magazine. Nike, for instance, teamed up with fashion brand Pigalle to revamp a disused space in Paris into a beautiful, colorful basketball court, while in Thailand, property developers AP Thai transformed unused patches of land in Bangkok into unusually shaped football pitches to benefit the local community, picking up a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions in the process.
Ewer speaks to Darren Watson, creative director of Singapore retail consultancy Watsonand, who says: “People are looking for a less invasive dynamic from the brands they interact with. It’s no longer enough to say ‘come to us’. We are looking for brands that say ‘we will come to you’.”
So if you take one lesson from this issue, let it be this: fame and influence may travel, but if you rely on people coming to you, you won’t get very far.
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