Friday, May 01, 2009

Branding


John Pilger is not really all that impressed with the substance of "thePrez" (in the green suit, right) "First 100 Days." He correctly understands that that false deadline, and pretty much the whole Obama mistique, is the product of some really "mad" pr/propaganda (to the extent they are differentiable) skills:
It is more than 100 days since Barack Obama was elected (inaugurated) president of the United States. The “Obama brand” has been named “Advertising Age’s marketer of the year for 2008”, easily beating Apple computers. David Fenton of MoveOn.org describes Obama’s election campaign as “an institutionalised mass-level automated technological community organising that has never existed before and is a very, very powerful force”. Deploying the internet and a slogan plagiarised from the Latino union organiser César Chávez – “Sí, se puede!” or “Yes, we can” – the mass-level automated technological community marketed its brand to victory in a country (almost. W) desperate to be rid of George W Bush.
...
No one knew what the new brand actually stood for (my emphasis. W). So accomplished was the advertising (a record $75m was spent on television commercials alone) that many Americans actually believed Obama shared their opposition to Bush’s wars. In fact, he had repeatedly backed Bush’s warmongering and its congressional funding… In his first 100 days, Obama has excused torture, opposed habeas corpus and demanded more secret government. He has kept Bush’s gulag intact and at least 17,000 prisoners beyond the reach of justice.
...
Perhaps the biggest lie – the equivalent of smoking is good for you – is Obama’s announcement that the US is leaving Iraq, the country it has reduced to a river of blood. According to unabashed US army planners, as many as 70,000 troops will remain “for the next 15 to 20 years”. On 25 April, his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, alluded to this.
...
It is not surprising that the polls are showing that a growing number of Americans believe they have been suckered – especially as the nation’s economy has been entrusted to the same fraudsters who destroyed it. Lawrence Summers, Obama’s principal economic adviser, is throwing $3trn at the same banks that paid him more than $8m last year, including $135,000 for one speech. Change you can believe in.

Much of the American establishment loathed Bush and Cheney for exposing, and threatening, the onward march of America’s “grand design”, as Henry Kissinger, war criminal and now Obama adviser, calls it. In advertising terms, Bush was a “brand collapse” whereas Obama, with his toothpaste advertisement smile and righteous clichés, is a godsend. At a stroke, he has seen off serious domestic dissent to war, and he brings tears to the eyes, from Washington to Whitehall. He is the BBC’s man, and CNN’s man, and Murdoch’s man, and Wall Street’s man, and the CIA’s man. The Madmen did well.
That was always the sum and substance of my complaint about him. Pretty hard to argue with that assessment, if you're not intoxicated still by the potent potion of (be it howsoever spurious) hope and change.

Pilger notes something that pissed me off about the Obama campaign: their naked rip-off of the UFW chant, without even a nod in the general direction of the labor movement from which it sprung, or the hero who led it, Cesar Chavez. "iSi! Se pede!" was a war cry, not a plea for accommodation, which the Obamanistas made it. Another point: By historical standards, a 7-per-cent margin is not a symptom of electoral desperation. Almost 60 MILLION people apparently cast their ballots against the "thePrez".

And that way cool fotoshop of "thePREZ" was created by my pal, Forest Taber, Sears Point, ME.