Do we really want to vote for the candidate who is the most popular with advertising industry types—the one they compliment as a person who "behaves like a well-defined brand?" Well, that candidate is Obama, so I guess the answer is yes for most of you Jesus-hating liberals [Ad Age]. The ad industry's luv for him has so far paid off in all those (free for Obama!) momentarily cute YouTube video mashups of the man interspersed with celebrities, music, or both (that's what ad people do on their free time to relax). But might this whole ad-love party be a backlash waiting to happen? Thoughts, to quote Alex Pareene, Obamafter therack jumpama.
"This is a guy who speaks in poetry — he's a wide-open canvas and really right for making incredibly moving and incredibly inspiring work," said John Dukakis, the son of former Massachusetts governor and 1998 Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Dukakis, who serves as senior VP-branded entertainment at Boston ad agency Hill Holliday. It's no surprise that "creative folks, who are constantly looking for things to do on their own that are fun, interesting and even historic," find themselves attracted to Mr. Obama.
Fun, interesting—even historic! One of the unsettling things about advertising is its peddling of totally manufactured emotions, which range from extremes of joy to opposite extremes of sobriety depending on the product being sold. "Brands" are just carefully cultivated collections of these emotions, evoked in concert at the mention of a company or its tagline. Which is to say, mind control. Benign mind control, a lot of times, but that's what it is. And not cheap.
Of course, our current president is the embodiment of a totally empty branded image upon which a bunch of undeserved attributes were projected. This time around, people are hoping for someone with a little more actual substance.
So is the ad industry's affinity for Obama an indication that he is likely to turn out to be an empty presidential brand? Or is it just because ad people tend to be young and think of themselves as cool and are mostly urban and more liberal than average, and that's a prime Obama constituency? Number two is probably the answer, so don't worry too much. But if #1 somehow turns out to have been correct, we will all know to vote against the ad industry candidate in the future. It's like a test! In which the consolation prize is destruction of the American way of life.
Anyways, check out this reggaeton Obama ad courtesy of Nuevo Vista Media. We know you love the reggaeton ads!