Trump campaign uses foreign stock models to portray supporters in ads: report

A series of reelection campaign ads on Facebook feature a range of American voters, “Tracey from Florida,” “Thomas from Washington” and “AJ from Texas,” supporting Trump and his agenda.

There’s one catch — Tracey, Thomas and AJ appear to be foreign stock models. 

The Associated Press reported Tuesday the series of ads featuring a young blonde woman on a beach, a bearded hipster in a coffee shop, and a Texas “lifelong Democrat” who supports Trump, are stock video footage produced in France, Brazil and Turkey. 

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“President Trump is doing a great job, I could not ask for a better president of the United States of America,” Tracey says. 

“Although I am a lifelong Democrat, I sincerely believe the nation must secure its borders,” AJ says. 

The end of each brief 20-second video asks voters if they agree, and to take the campaign’s official survey. 

Small text in the corner of each screen has a brief disclaimer reading, “Actual testimonial, actor portrayal.” 

The Trump campaign declined repeated AP requests for comment. 

The Hill reached out to the campaign Wednesday morning. 

Political experts told the AP it’s not unusual for stock footage to emerge in ads, but campaigns should be more careful. 

“The fact that the footage is from outside the U.S. makes it that much more embarrassing,” Jay Newell, a former cable TV executive who teaches advertising at Iowa State University, told AP. 

“Tracey from Florida,” is actually “Young woman smiling and walking at the beach,” available for purchase on Getty Images iStock. “Thomas from Washington” is “bearded and tattooed hipster coffee shop owner posing.” 

Fred Davis, a campaign consultant who produced ads for former President George W. Bush, told the AP the staffer behind the Trump ads is “probably 22 years old” and thought “this is a great picture.” 

“This is a great shot of Thomas from Washington. It’s a shame it’s not Thomas from Washington,” Davis said. 

The Associated Press said the foreign companies behind the stock photo models would not give a detailed comment in regards to the images being used to portray American voters in a political campaign. 

Getty Images would not disclose the identities of the models to The Associated Press for privacy reasons. 

A Getty spokesperson told The Hill the images used by the campaign were properly licensed.

“Getty Images licenses content to third parties for a wide variety of uses….The model releases provide a broad grant of rights including use in advertising,” the spokesperson said.

—Updated at 2:38 p.m.

Written by Alan Smith

Alan Smith

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