People are going to call this ad racist. You can just tell. People are happy to get excited about the first African-American President, or the first black President, or even perhaps the first President of Colour. But the moment this exciting skin tone of the President gets compared to ANYTHING white, people call foul.
And is it racist? To me, it says that the President is black, and he lives in a White House. To me, this is true. This is also something that millions have been waiting for, for many, many years.
It’s also a really cute illustration – and chimes in on the ‘change’ and happy times that everyone expected from the Obama administration. True, times have made it difficult to maintain that optimism. But we can’t blame the President for the mess he’s been left.
To an extent, we also cannot blame companies for continuing to buy into Obama-mania to sell their products. With notable mention to the lululemon athletica (yoga apparel store) shop window which featured a cartoon President meditating, with the words ‘om-bama’ above it, it is to be expected.
Businesses have cashed in on the ‘change’ notion as quickly as they started Bush-bashing. Americans create such a cult of celebrity around their political icons, it’s just too much free PR for companies to resist.
But it is a little bit of a cop-out – I mean, it isn’t really bothering to tap into the product at all. Instead, it just picked something amazingly topical and threw on a headline. It’ll grab attention, and hell, I would buy Obama icecream. But there’s little to commend in terms of the ad team.
Also, ‘flavor of the week’? More like the next four years – at least. I don’t love a new president being boiled down to the latest trend, even though that could be closer to reality than political pundits admit.
I wonder if they thought it would be slightly racially controversial? Or worse, I wonder if they hoped so? Not that I think our sunny President who surfs in Hawaii would have a problem with his smiling emoticon dancing in front of rainbows.
Advertising Agency: Voskhod, Yekaterinburg, Russia
Creative Director: Andrey Gubaydullin
Art Director / Illustrator: Vlad Derevyannykh
Copywriters: Aleksandr Parkhomenko, Evgeny Primachenko
Published: March 2009