Obama's face on a bunch of crap

With the US Presidential Inauguration only hours away, this might be a good moment to reflect on a trend that is becoming more and more apparent in the world of design and advertising — people are copying Obama! The next great hope for America is fast-becoming the face to launch a thousand shirts.

We knew it would happen in the realm of campaigning, and we’ve seen the plain-faced design mode duplicated on the website of Israel’s Likud Party, for example, as well as movie posters, and the like.

Obama’s design style had influence even before the election, but after his victory, the flood gates flew wide open! Aside from those disgraceful commemorative plates and coins, we’re seeing everything from Obama Hot Sauce to an Obama Chia Pet! The New York Times has been commenting on the apparent desire for Obama stuff.

Leo Laporte and Dick DeBartolo chatted about Obama merchandising on a recent epsiode of The Daily Giz Wiz:


But lately, proper and well-known brands are getting on board, catapulting off the inauguration to sell stuff. First, the always-cheeky Ben & Jerry’s who have produced a special flavour to mark the O-nauguration. So check your supermarket freezers for Yes Pecan! (Take that, Steven Colbert!)

But it’s Ikea who take the biscuit, launching into a full-on 3D promotional campaign all styled in the mode of Presidentiality. We’re talking a mock Oval Office in Union Station, a fake motorcade with Ikea boxes on the roof of Cadillac 1 and an overall typographic and graphical scheme based on the well-balanced posters of the Obama campaign. The typeface isn’t Gotham, but it is a smart sans-serif set in bright colours. Props to Deutsch for putting this together without going overboard on the cheese, or the tack.

Ikea's Presidential campaign

Ikea's Presidential campaign

Ikea's Presidential campaign

So one has to wonder how much longer we’ll see this sort of consumerist frenzy continue? While his Presidency will always be historic, it will be interesting to see how the people react once Obama actually starts setting policy and making governmental-type decisions. Will there be an overwhelming demand for Obama buttons when he’s vetoing legislation? Will there still be Obama-inspired art exhibits for a man who enacts new regulations and creates new bureaucracy? I suspect that while the nation will always have a certain affection for the man who chased Bush out of office, his commercial success will suffer a from a sort of honeymoon syndrome. In other words, this will pass.

But in the meantime, grab as much of this crap as you can!

(side note: when Yes Pecan first debuted on Reddit, I thought it was a joke. The post posed the question of what would you name a flavour for President Bush? Although names like Abu Grape, Iraqi Road, and Im-Peach are darn clever, I’d still go with Cluster Fudge. How perfect is that.)