U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean “Supreme Leader” Kim Jong-un are set to engage in historic face-to-face talks regarding possible nuclear disarmament of North Korea in Singapore. While the potential geopolitical implications are beyond our humble scope, we thought we’d mention this: There are promotional products tied to the summit – perhaps not a surprise given the global interest in the event.
The Straits Times, an English language broadsheet newspaper based in Singapore, had the below prefilled, single-use water bottle on offer:
At least some folks were eager to get their hands on summit swag:
Others disparaged The Straits Times summit-branded merchandise:
Some slightly silly Singapore summit swag pic.twitter.com/MqTmYumJm6— Jonathan Cheng (@JChengWSJ) June 10, 2018
Additionally, Los Angeles Times reported that, on the ground in Singapore, there were cardboard fans and coffee cups that showed depictions of Trump and Kim. BBC Asia Bureau Chief Imelda Flattery noted that the summit’s media center had summit-branded coffee cups:
Back in May, in anticipation of an earlier round of proposed talks between Trump and Kim that were cancelled, the White House Communications Agency was selling a coin – or medallion since it has no currency value. It was to commemorate the meeting:
There's now a White House Military Office coin for the upcoming Trump Kim Jong Un summit. The North Korean dictator is referred to as "Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un." pic.twitter.com/tFAmE813Y1— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) May 21, 2018
It appears there will be more coins/medallions. The White House Gift Shop was making new commemorative coins available for pre-order as of Monday. The gift shop website said images of the first coin – apparently there will be another as well for a series of three -- would be released on Tuesday June 12th. Coins were expected to begin shipping Aug. 1.
Beyond the merch, there’s a bit of a surreal atmosphere surrounding the summit between two of the world’s most controversial leaders. For example, people were lining up in Singapore to take pictures with Kim and Trump impersonators. Pics reportedly cost $11.
Hong Kong-based impersonator Howard X, who has attracted worldwide attention in recent months for his impression of Kim, appeared on stage with Trump lookalike Dennis Alan. https://t.co/H2gUIZmhm2— AFP news agency (@AFP) June 9, 2018
Another element kicking the “What the heck?” factor of the summit into overdrive was the fact that Dennis Rodman, the eccentric former NBA star, was traveling to Singapore. Rodman says he is a friend of Trump and Kim. He was going to Singapore as part of a promotional push for a digital currency for the cannabis industry. While certainly not expected to figure in the talks, Rodman was offering to be a facilitator for Trump and Kim:
Thanks to my loyal sponsors from @potcoin and my team at @Prince_Mrketing , I will be flying to Singapore for the historical Summit. I'll give whatever support is needed to my friends, @realDonaldTrump and Marshall Kim Jong Un. pic.twitter.com/QGPZ8nPrBE— Dennis Rodman (@dennisrodman) June 8, 2018
Los Angeles Times reported that about 2,500 members of the media have registered for the summit. That’s the largest contingent ever hosted in Singapore, according to The Straits Times.