Director Claims Donald Trump Wanted To Look Thinner In 2012 Super Bowl Ad

Donald Trump is in the midst of his third run for the presidency, but before he went into politics, Trump was perhaps best known for hosting "The Apprentice" on NBC. In that role, he had an approximately one-second appearance in a 2012 NBC Super Bowl commercial. The commercial featured the cast of many NBC shows, including "The Office," "30 Rock," "Parks & Recreation," and "Community," singing "The Brotherhood of Man" from the musical "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." Trump's part involved him saying the word "you" and pointing at the camera.

The commercial had a superstar director: Taika Waititi. The award-winning New Zealand director, who has most famously directed "Thor" movies for Marvel, went on the "Smartless" podcast, hosted by Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett, in November 2023; he talked about the Super Bowl commercial and what it was like directing Trump. Waititi revealed that Trump had "a piece of paper, a list of demands" for his quick cameo. "The height of the camera [...] it had to be a certain height to make him look a little thinner."

Waititi also noted that Donald Trump had someone on set who seemed to be focused on making sure he was kept happy and feeling good about himself. "He had a makeup person who was also his ego booster," Waititi said, "so she would, like, touch him up and say, 'Oh Mr. Trump, oh Mr. Trump, you look fantastic."

Donald Trump could be sensitive about his weight

Taika Waititi's experience with Donald Trump seems to track with what we know about Trump's concern over his personal appearance, particularly his weight, if his past comments are any indication. When he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in Singapore in 2018, Trump asked photographers, "Getting a good picture, everybody? So we look nice and handsome and thin and perfect?" per USA Today. That got him some side-eye from Kim, and it seemed to highlight a potential personal obsession of Trump's with weight and appearance.

Trump has mocked the weight of others before, like Republican Chris Christie, in what could be considered projection. At a campaign rally in New Hampshire in 2019, Trump mistook a supporter for a protestor, which might be why he publicly insulted him. "That guy's got a serious weight problem," Trump said from the podium, "Go home, start exercising," via USA Today.

Trump's own weight faced internet skepticism when he surrendered at the Fulton County jail and self-reported his weight at 215 pounds, which would mark a nearly 30-pound weight loss since he left office. Trump also released a letter from his personal doctor in November 2023 that noted his health and that he'd lost weight "through an improved diet and continued daily physical activity."