Success of Swedish ‘escape Trump’ campaign ‘regrettable for the world’

The Swedish company which offered Americans the chance to flee Donald Trump's presidency says the overwhelming attention given to their campaign has provoked mixed emotions, as they prepare to bring it to a close.

Success of Swedish 'escape Trump' campaign 'regrettable for the world'
A screenshot of the 'Great Trump Escape' website. Photo: Round&Round

In November, The Local reported on Stockholm-based advertising agency Round & Round’s “Great Trump Escape” campaign, which encouraged Americans to send their portfolios to them for a new position at the company – with the big catch being that they would only be opened if Trump won the US election.

The company thought it was a fun ad campaign but didn’t really believe they would have to follow through on it. Then, Trump upset expectations.

“A lot has happened since November,” Nahir Aslan from Round & Round told The Local on the day of Trump’s inauguration.

“We’ve had a whopping 857 applicants for one job, which is both fantastic for us, and regrettable for the world. It’s remarkable how the campaign has played out.”

Sorting through the hundreds of applications has taken some time, Aslan noted, adding that there were some excellent candidates among the hundreds, but also some who were simply asking out of hope.

“A couple of them have been people who would be a dream to recruit and work with. A lot of them have just been asking and hoping for a job. People who seem to want a change and don’t want to live in a country where Trump is president,” he explained.

Prior to the November election, Round & Round told The Local they hoped they would never have to open the applications that were sent to them. That’s not how things played out of course, and the irony of an undesirable election result contributing to the overwhelming success of the ad campaign isn’t lost on them.

“It’s definitely mixed emotions. We definitely didn’t hope for this when we were trying to tap in to the discussion. Then it played out as it did,” Aslan recalled.

“Had Hillary Clinton won this would have been gone and forgotten right? But with what happened… it’s a fantastic advert for the agency, but also regrettable that it happened and received all this traction.”

The plan is to close the website down once the new president is sworn in, and the lucky Trump escapee will then be unveiled by the summer. After that, there won’t be any further campaigns themed around the US president: one was enough.

“We want these four years to go past as quickly as possible, and hopefully we’ll have something else after that. I’m sure the rest of the world – or the majority of the rest of the world – is with us on that,” Aslan concluded.