Obama-rama and the Cobra Nation

22 05 2008

I haven’t made my decision yet for who I’m going to vote for come November, but I do know one thing – if Barack Obama doesn’t win the presidency, he should go into marketing. As someone who went to school for it, I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on good marketing and creative strategies – and as I’ve said before, if you can’t sell yourself, you shouldn’t sell anything. And never before have I seen a candidate on any level market themselves so elegantly, thoroughly and cohesively, operating almost like a high-end consumer brand. Even his logo blazes new trails in campaign design – his ‘O’ logo is the Nike Swoosh of American politics.

And whether or not Obama himself is actually coming up with his own marketing tactics, he also is at the top of his class with guerrilla campaign advertising. Now I’m not talking about “reaching out to the kids” by making an appearance on the Daily Show or bantering with David Letterman or showing up on SNL for some self-inflicted humor. These are all great, but they are all first person. The real strength of this new marketing comes not from you directly, but from those who support you. And its working for Obama primarily for this reason: he’s been able to get people with voices in the creative community to not only rally around him, but use their talents to further his cause. And no, I’m not talking about Obama Girl.

Case in point – Designer Shepherd Fairey of OBEY/Giant fame recently designed a limited edition poster for Obama, that sold so well that it’s currently out of stock in the Obama online store and is selling on e-bay for rockstar prices.

Fairey is leading the way for a whole design community, bent on creating new and compelling Obama imagery ranging from posters to t-shirts to buttons…



Major League Baseball even had to get involved by shutting down a designer who was selling Obama t-shirts designed after baseball team logos.

Follow all of that with a music video based solely on an Obama speech, and crammed with celebrities ranging from Scarlett Johansson to Herbie Hancock to Kareem Adbul-Jabbar, helmed by artist will.i.am, and the case can be made that Obama has become a larger-than-life figure and leader for young Americans who turn to MTV more than CNN.

And for the icing on the cake, how do you know when you’ve made it? When someone takes the time to craft a well orchestrated spoof of said well-known music video (caution sharp blog subject turn ahead…)

I present to you Cobra Nation.

That’s right folks – GI Joe is back. And better than ever. And they’re harnessing all the new media outlets. You can even follow Cobra Commander and General Hawk on Twitter. And their new rise will culminate in 2009 with the release of their new, live action movie. Let’s hope it’s more like this,
and less like this.

In a related story, my boss recently captured a Cobra snake who had been taking refuge in his home. Read about it here.

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One response

23 10 2008
Eric

major league baseball logo…

(Blogger now has backlinks – very similar to the trackback feature in Movable Type. This enables authors to keep track of who is linking…

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