Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: “Brand Trump” has been getting quite a knock in global headlines and social media chatter in recent days.

By design or otherwise, Trump’s name and image have been knocked off a billboard
advertising a real estate development in Dubai.

The billboard was highlighting the virtues of the super-luxury villas bearing the Trump name at the Akoya project by Damac Properties.

A spokesperson for Damac declined to provide any details as to what led to the
removal of the image.

The developer’s official position — on the disparaging comments Donald Trump made about Muslims while campaigning to be the US Republican candidate for President — was that it will not comment on the “internal American political debate scene”.

It is the stance Damac maintained when the removal of the Trump name from the billboard was brought to its attention.

The villas — as well as the golf course that the Trump Organisation is to manage at the same development — were launched with great fanfare.

It marked the re-entry of the Trump brand into the UAE’s real estate development scene, after an earlier attempt to build a signature tower on the Palm Jumeirah came to naught following the global financial crisis.

Donald Trump himself and his daughter Ivanka were in Dubai to have first-hand look
at how the project was shaping up.

The villas carry price tags of Dh30 million and had been much favoured by investors at the time of the launch.

It is unlikely any of the existing owners will make a knee-jerk decision to try to sell the property in the secondary market as a protest move.

In the current market situation, when luxury properties have not been flying off the shelves, they may not find too many will buyers.

According to brand consultants, any branded development – attached to a celebrity’s
name – comes with a 30 per cent premium on average. But if the said brand turns toxic, the consequences could be dire.