Image via Karen B. Jones /

Before his tweetstorms and contentious political declarations, current US president Donald Trump was a sonorous entrepreneur notorious for saying two words: “You’re fired.”

Leading ad agency TBWA\Chiat\Day was no stranger to those words, but the story of how its ties with Trump had ceased might be one of the greatest termination-related stories in history.

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the firm has been sharing a series of stories that were significant to its journey. One of the recounts came from former Chiat/Day and TBWA\Chiat\Day LA exec Steve Goldman, who had spent decades working with founder Jay Chiat.

Goldman recalled that when Trump introduced his airline, Trump Shuttle, he was searching for the “greatest” agency to advertise the project, and he selected Chiat/Day.

This was in 1989, six years before Chiat/Day merged with TBWA to become TBWA\Chiat\Day.

While Jay Chiat delivered some “brilliant” ideas for the airline, they were “not to Trump’s ‘taste.’”

Goldman said the businessman made his displeasure known by sending the founder “a very nasty and threatening letter,” albeit one that was typed on “beautiful, gold-embossed stationery.”

The criticism hadn’t fazed Chiat at all. According to Goldman, he wittily wrote back:

“Donald, I thought you should know that some lunatic has stolen your stationery. Jay.”

“And of course Chiat/Day was summarily fired,” the former employee concluded.

He described that this incident was just another example of Chiat’s innate leadership skills at work. The founder could have pandered to Trump, but he was not going to bend over backwards for a “bully.”

The cherry on top for Goldman was this: Trump Shuttle was incredibly short-lived, and ceased operations three years later.

You can read Goldman’s full account of the incident by visiting the link below.

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Fun little story about Jay Chiat @TBWAChiatLA managing Trump Airlines as a client

[from… HT @Schwartzie14]

— Faris (@faris) November 5, 2018

[via Faris, cover image via Karen B. Jones /]

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