The giant Trump baby and other stunts that took on the president — and polarized opinion

A 20-foot-tall blimp depicting President Donald Trump as a baby is raised in London on Tuesday June 4. 2019.
CNBC's Hollie Wong
Watch the Trump 'baby blimp' take flight again in London
Trump baby blimp takes flight again in London

The giant "Trump baby" balloon is back.

As protesters gathered in London to demonstrate against President Donald Trump's state visit to the U.K. on Tuesday, the 20-foot tall blimp portraying him as an angry, orange baby was inflated once again.

During the president's first official visit to the U.K. last July, the balloon made headlines. But it isn't the only Trump stunt carried out during his time in office or on the campaign trail — others, from a Mexican band to a crop circle in Russian text have tried to send a political message.

Whether such activities have an impact on the president or on politicians he's negotiating with is another matter, says Erika Franklin Fowler, an associate professor of government affairs at Wesleyan University.

"The power of these stunts come from the news media attention they garner, further amplifying their message to a much wider audience than might otherwise hear about them," she told CNBC by email.

"As with any campaign message, it's challenging to isolate the effects of any one given the confluence of other information in the environment that is also changing. That said, it is unlikely that the stunts will change opinions of Trump, but they may further polarize opinions between supporters and opponents."

CNBC takes a look at the baby balloon and other creative ways organizations are attempting to grab their own headlines.

The Trump baby

A second crowdfunding campaign raised more than £30,000 ($37,940) to have the balloon rise again on Tuesday. Six organizations in the U.S. and U.K. will benefit from the cash raised, including Planned Parenthood and the U.K. Student Climate Network. While the president hasn't directly mentioned the baby, he did call London Mayor Sadiq Khan a "stone cold loser," on Monday via Twitter, after Khan likened Trump to "the fascists of the 20th century." Khan previously authorized the flying of the balloon in 2018.


The 'Don't' billboard

When Stephen O'Neill, an art director at ad agency AML photoshopped the words "Donald Trump," highlighting the letters D, O, N and T, onto a picture of a billboard in New York during the presidential campaign in 2016, it went viral.

"It appeared in media from Singapore to San Francisco and prompted (industry magazine) Adweek in the U.S. to ask whether 'ghost' ads like this can influence voter opinion," according to Ian Henderson, CEO of AML, in an email to CNBC.

Henderson conceded that while political advertising can have an impact on voters (Facebook now has restrictions on such ads), he said AML's stunt on its own was unlikely to have influenced the U.S. presidential election.


The mariachi band

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power is known for its PR stunts and it did not hold back when the then presidential candidate Trump visited his golf resort in Turnberry, Scotland, in June 2016.

It sent a Mexican mariachi band to welcome him as his airplane landed in Glasgow, in the midst of Trump's calls for a border wall.

Paddy Power's activities seem to be for its own gain: People can now bet on whether the president will drink a pint of Guinness when he visits Ireland on Wednesday, as well as whether he will kiss a baby while on Irish soil.


The message in the grass

A British student got into trouble with the police after he mowed a message into fields near Stansted Airport where the president landed on Monday. "Climate change is real," the message stated, next to a polar bear, and another stated "Oi Trump," next to an image of male genitalia. Student Ollie Nancarrow has been asked to remove the images.


The Russian crop circle

It's not the first time fields have been used to send a message to the president. Last year, a huge crop circle appeared in fields on the flight path between London and Chequers, the British prime minister's country retreat, where Trump was headed. The message, in Russian, translates as "F--- Trump," and was the work of ad agency The Tenth Man.


The Trump toilet

Don Lessem, a dinosaur consultant for movies such as Jurassic Park, is one of the people behind The Dump Trump Dump campaign, which has brought its giant Trump-on-the-toilet statue to London for the president's state visit. The caricature appears to be texting, while an audio function makes him appear to talk about "fake news," and state "I'm a very stable genius."


The anti-Melania billboard

It's not just the president who is parodied, first lady Melania Trump has been targeted too. A billboard ad, for the Americki Institut (American Institute) in Zagreb, Croatia, used a picture of Mrs Trump and the words "Just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English," in September 2017.

She appeared to be making a speech and was pictured against an American flag, in a white outfit similar to the one she wore to give an address in which she was accused of plagiarizing former first lady Michelle Obama. The billboards were removed following a threat from Mrs Trump's lawyers.

Trump an 'enemy of democracy,' London protester says
Trump an 'enemy of democracy,' London protester says