Opinion: How Donald Trump became Vancouver's PR nightmare

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Images: Trump Vancouver / Donald Trump Facebook

There’s no denying that Holborn, the Vancouver-based development group behind the Trump International Hotel and Tower on Georgia Street, is currently experiencing a PR nightmare of epic proportions. With tens of thousands of peoples names on a “Dump Trump” petition, and weekly calls of the same from politicians (who have no actual say in the matter, but want to jump on a bandwagon where popular opinion requires their attendance), Holborn must be just hoping a certain Presidential wannabe gets a bad case of laryngitis that lasts, say, the next year or so.

Is this a PR situation that could have been avoided? And has Holborn handled it the right way?

I suppose I’m trying to work out where things started, and why the Trump name was brought to the table in the first place. Of course it’s down to money, investors and a certain prestige that goes along with a name associated with opulent over-the-top wealth that many aspire to.

While no-one could have foreseen his meteoric and terrifying popularity in his (at-the-time undeclared) run for the Presidency at that glitzy 2013 press event where Donald and his troupe of trophy-hunting, model-esque offspring were paraded out, wasn’t there something a little unsettling about seeing him in our city in the first place?

This is, after all, a man who even before he announced he wanted to be POTUS, had already declared: all the women on the Apprentice flirted with him and he could hardly blame them, that if Ivanka wasn’t his daughter he’d likely date her, that certain races are intrinsically lazy, and that global warming is BS.

That hardly seemed like a fit for Vancouver, did it? It was almost dreamlike, the way media focused on the celebrity angle, as though we were lucky to have him here, even doing stories about how his hair “really IS real – we touched it!” The positive stories on having our very own Trump tower were plentiful, and we felt like we’d achieved a goal – Vancouver was in the big leagues along with New York, Las Vegas, Rio, Doonbeg (huh?).

So now we’ve woken up. That perfect PR dream is over – and we are left with a bad morning-after taste in our mouths, where a man who spouts racist and sexist bile in a campaign for the most powerful job in the world, has his name on Vancouver’s second tallest tower.

When Trump made his comment about a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. things took a turn, and that’s when Holborn did the right thing by issuing a statement saying they are not involved in politics in any way, and they won’t comment on any Trump agendas.

Just like the rest of us, Holborn will be watching intently to see if the GOP endorses Trump as a candidate, and if you’re losing hope, this is worth a read.

The lesson might be that getting involved with controversial figures might bring you the prestige and the promotion you long for in the short term – but just like the unkempt small yappy dog currently residing on top of Donald Trump’s head, it can just as quickly turn around and bite you in the ass.

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About the author

amanda bates
Amanda Bates A guest author for Vancity Buzz, Amanda is currently the Vice President at Curve Communications, a Vancouver PR and marketing firm. She has over 20 years of experience in journalism, producing, and television, working for companies like BBC and Reuters in London and Breakfast Television on Citytv in Vancouver.
@amandabate5

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