My buy: The August Cover of Vanity Fair featuring the McCains that follows, is in reference to, plays off of and balances out (and also further adding to the power of political art this campaign season) the very controversial July issue of The New Yorker featuring the Obamas.
I'm not sure if Barry Blitt did the cover of Vanity Fair but it is mimicking his style. I will frame these side-by-side and have already torn off The New Yorker cover by Blitt (as I have with other covers of his that are so culturally political).
The cultural commentary and power of campaign visual graphics is something I've followed and to have Vanity Fair cover this and move from photos of celebrities is a big statement and testament to this trend.
The Shephard Fairey poster of Obama might be the most famous art to come out of this political season. Created by the artist as a street poster distributed to activists to plaster the streets for the California primaries, the image went viral and even though Fairey stipulated that private use was prohibited, the consumer demand keeps escalating. When one was found being auctioned on e-bay for $60,000 last week, Fairey was very disappointed has responded that he will put out posters for sale on his site with all proceeds going back into the Obama campaign. He says he is also vigorously monitoring e-bay and trying to contain the viral desire to meet this huge consumer demand. Yeah, right. Good luck you talented guy.
The Obama Hope Poster will be produced in limited release (only 600) as numbered offsets, 24×36, signed and numbered. Prints can be purchased HERE. This offset prints will be $30, 1 per customer/household. He said these go on sale on his site today at a random time. My prediction: passionate fans will overwhelm the server and he won't be able to contain the image.
I predicted the graphic of Obama he created would become the most impactful one of this campaign and questioned if Fairey would be able to contain the use of his work once released. He now recognizes he will have to be more careful in how he conducts his business. This digital age in the new media environment makes this difficult. (see my post on The Obama Poster: Political Art and the Power of Visual Images).
Obama's graphics have been powerful. His campaign orchestrated the word CHANGE and it stuck to the candidate. HOPE became attatched, too.
Now it is Obama for America. One more new slogan has notched the branding of the candidate up to a new level. Smart political campaign communication strategy as the marketing and selling of the candidate evolves. No wonder influential and powerful others are noting Obama as "The One". The Obama for America tag popped up on a podium before Obama at a gathering last week of Democratic governors.
The same tagline was used as the distribution moniker for posters (at left) printed and distributed in Germany on Obama's World Tour. In German it says: distributed by Obama for America. Obama is now launched on the world stage with his new marketing motto.
Let's see. Change. Hope. Obama for America. The momentum is there for the selling of the candidate with the branding so far. Of course, something like Tainted Tylenol or Salmonella Tomatoes (Black Swan events) cause unplanned disruptions and changes in product preferences. But for now, Obama is winning by graphics and branding. Consumers don't dig deep for the most part. They buy what they (simply) know.
Wouldn't you love to own Warhol's graphic of Nixon? Now that is probably worth tons. I wrote Political Art: Powerful Tools in the Icon Age (it has Warhol's Nixon pictured) and if you think of it, Warhol knew pop mass culture. Nixon was the first candidate to be sold with Madison Avenue techniques (read The Selling of the President by Joe _____).
Obama? He's selling like soap. He's the Coke of the moment.
update: A Washington Post article on a study reinforces the idea that voter's use shortcuts to arrive at decisions (which reinforces my point that techniques of sales and branding are so powerful). The academics' question: How much has the American voter changed over the past 50 years? Their conclusion: voters are still dismally ill-informed creatures and...a lot of people just don't care about politics".
Obama Winning by Graphic Iterations
The Art of Words: Campaign Visuals
Presidential Campaign Visuals
Word Art: Talking Points
Semi-related and just listed as a read for the Professional Writing Course at the University of South Florida: Rhetoric From Aristotle to Obama (Yes We Can)...