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Macy's urged to 'dump Trump' from ads -- or else

7:40 PM, Nov 14, 2012   |    comments
Donald Trump in a new Macy's ad: "Another Miracle on 34th Street"
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(NBC) -- Snip snip snip. What's that sound? The sound of over 558,000 scissors at the ready.

If Macy's doesn't cut its ties to Donald Trump, over half-a-million signers of an online petition will be urged to cut up their Macy's store credit card, the creator of the petition, Angelo Carusone, told TODAY Wednesday morning.

Carusone, 30, said he started the petition after seeing a new Macy's ad that mixed in footage from "Miracle on 34th Street" with cameos from several of the faces behind Macy's celebrity brands. There's Justin Bieber, Martha Stewart, Taylor Swift, and then there's Donald Trump, skeptical that the old man in the stocking cap and suit is really Santa and tugging on his beard. Macy's sells a line of Trump-branded ties and fragrances. Stuart Elliot, the New York Times' advertising columnist, noted that the ad was a "clever twist" on Trump's notoriety for casting doubt on whether President Obama's birth certificate and college transcript were real.

But to Carusone, director of online strategy for the media watchdog group Media Matters, the ad struck him as a cynical "embracing" of Trump's brand, which Carusone described as being built on "consequence-free bullying," noting the birtherism controversy, and Trump's history of misogynistic comments. The ad was also released shortly after Trump tweeted calls for "revolution," following President Obama's re-election.

Carusone said he was a fan of the retailer and Trump's brand "doesn't reflect the magic of Macy's." So he created an online petition to urge the retailer to break up with Trump. It's been steadily gaining traction through social media channels and media pickup. In the past Carusone, working independently, spearheaded online efforts to get Glen Beck ousted from Fox News.

The ad also featured an appearance by Martha Stewart, who served time after being convicted for insider trading. But Carusone isn't going after her because that was "a one-time thing," he said. "Macy's isn't building a business on top of her insider trading."

The Donald appeared unfazed by the growing online uproar. Trump spokesman Michael Cohen told TODAY, "The Trump Organization values its long standing relationship with Macy's and looks forward to many more years of continued success."

Macy's so far is not changing course. Reached for comment, Macy's senior vice-president of corporate communications told TODAY:

"Macy's marketing and merchandise offerings are not representative of any political position. Many of the individuals associated with products sold at Macy's - or at any retailer, for that matter - express personal opinions that are not related to the merchandise we sell or to the philosophies of our company. In our merchandise assortment, we strive to meet our customers' expectations for unique and interesting products across a broad array of styles, categories and brands. This allows our customers to choose what they prefer. A longtime focus of Macy's holiday advertising has been to celebrate the season's spirit of generosity and goodwill through our ongoing "Believe" campaign, and that is the sole message of our holiday television commercials."

By Thanksgiving, Carusone said he planned on delivering the final petition to Macy's in-person.

Meanwhile he has already started building a sub-list of the petition signers who hold Macy's store credit cards, and if there's no action from the retailer, he will encourage them to start cutting up those cards. He got the idea after people started tweeting him pictures of themselves cutting up their cards.

It'll be just in time for Black Friday, one of the year's biggest shopping days.

Carusone said he emailed Macy's CEO, along with his executive personal assistant, repeatedly before beginning the campaign and throughout it and got "zero response."

"Next week is Macy's last chance," said Carusone.

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