After biding their time for four years, many people are happy to simply hold their noses again. Enjoy the flashback…
The Odd Smell of Success
“Success: a new fragrance for men by Trump.” Are people buying it? Many reviews for the cologne describe its scent as strange and occasionally off-putting. Some reviewers even equate Success with the man himself. Regardless of the product’s inherent subjectivity, the marketing formula is clear: generic male awaits stunning female. How many alternative images or concepts might have been employed, their shortcomings at least different from this hackneyed narrative of the marketplace?
Imagine a young man meditating amid the madness of a modern city. Or an athlete enjoying his sport. Or an old codger engrossed in a book. What is success anyway? Trump offers the image of Miss Universe—a body, a title, an exaggeration—an ideal rendition of female beauty, a source of frustration to men and women alike. The desire to be her or possess her may motivate a purchase, but such transactions offer limited fulfillment, especially if a person fails to recognize the manipulation involved—and the illusion.
The success enshrined by our culture does not exist. There is no finality, no crowning and glorious achievement to human existence, only the scent of that desire. Anyone who wins a trophy must do so again next year. Liberation quickly turns into bondage. Miss Universe faces us with open arms, subtly entangled in a series of cables. She does not embody success any more than cologne engenders intimacy. True success sees through the word, and the image.