Monday, June 22, 2009

Really? I Mean, Really?

That's all I could say as I walked past this Hummer (parked curbside) on my way home from work this afternoon.

Words fail. After failing several times due to the decidedly nonstandard spelling, I navigated to the company's webpage, which I am refusing to link to on the grounds that to do so would be morally indefensible. I will, however, quote from their website:
Keep the Positive Energy Going!
O-BAM-AAH!™ Energy Stix seeks to continue the momentum of POSITIVE ENERGY which came to light during the Obama campaign when millions of Americans were inspired to make a difference through volunteering and community involvement.

O-BAM-AAH!™ Energy Stix is designed to emphasize positive energy channeled for personal growth and supporting national and global needs.

OUR MISSION: New Energy for America

To create universal POSITIVE ENERGY, by providing you with an energy supplement that contributes to your individual POSITIVE ENERGY when you need it.

Encourage volunteerism at ANY LEVEL in your community, which can include your neighborhood, your city, or globally.

Contribute to an unwavering positive outlook, regardless of the circumstances.

Promote POSITIVE CHANGE by focusing on what’s right; constant focusing on what is wrong is counterproductive

O-BAM-AAH!™ Energy Stix can contribute by helping with your energy and your mood.

It's the CHANGE America needs NOW.

I had never really bought it when people tried to point out that Obama wasn't so much a person as a brand. Politicians have been coming up with slogans and carefully marketing themselves for generations.

But there's something different about Obama. He didn't stop at the usual trappings--buttons, signs, slogans--the man had a logo, for starters. And it feels, at least here in Washington, like he's still campaigning. There are "Obama" wares in almost every gift shop, people are wearing Obama t-shirts, the whole drill. Now, it isn't as though this is the first time we've had a product try to latch itself onto a President's popularity; Theodore Roosevelt and teddy bears are probably the most well-known example. In terms of cults of personality, though, Obama is in elite company if we're talking about Roosevelt as the closest analogue. The man more or less single-handedly formed a third party and attempted to win election to a third term as President.

I don't want to blow this out of proportion; in the grand scheme of things, O-BAM-AAH Energy Stix (with POSITIVE ENERGY) are pretty clearly a flash in the pan. But my thinking has changed on the Obama phenomenon. It is a cult, but not in the "drink the Kool Aid" sense. It's a cult like the iPod is a cult, like Coca Cola is a cult, like Nike is a cult. Americans have been using brands to define themselves for years now. The only difference with Obama is that he's selling a service, not a product.

Vote Obama! Now with 33% more "Yes we can!"

1 comment:

  1. Gross- I'm linking this to some forums of some people I know.