Companies normally pay celebrities tall stacks of cash to appear in their advertisements, but not President Barack Obama.
It has been coined “Barackvertising” or “Bamvertising” — the illicit exploitation of Obama’s hefty marketing weight without the permission of the President.
The ads try to capitalise on the Obama mystique. Some use actual images of Obama’s person, while others use his now-famous catchphrases to leverage the President’s brand for their own benefit.
The quantity of the ads peaked back during Obama’s 2008 campaign and shortly after his inauguration. Obama wasn’t the only politician that was subjected to exploitation, but even the ads that featured his opponents seemed to lean toward the future commander-in-chief. Hillary Clinton got her share of punches during the primary, and Sarah Palin ate a few jabs as well.
Years later, agencies are still using the tactic. And with another presidential election looming, you can expect the “Barackvertising” to start ramping up once again as the media hype increases.
Obama is a polarising figure by nature of his position, but it makes sense for companies who have a consumer demographic close to that of the president’s followers to use his brand to bolster themselves. But is it ethical to use his likeness for commercial gain without permission?
What do you think about these ads that use Obama’s image? Let us know in the comments.
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CNN Turkey won a Cannes Outdoor Bronze Lion award this year for this ad depicting Obama reporting in front of the Capitol
After Obama was seen ordering this particular condiment on a burger, Maille mustard quickly capitalised with these ads proclaiming it 'the mustard of change'
Obama sports a photoshopped finger imprint upon his presidential face in this ad for the mobile version of Mexican newspaper El Universal
This Obama-Clinton mashup from a university in Belgium looked to capitalise on the '08 Democratic primary from across the pond
A Berlitz language school in Israel figured out how to phonetically duplicate Obama's famous 'Yes We Can' using the word 'Yes' in three different languages (the bottom word is Hebrew, and is read as 'Ken')
In another play on 'Yes We Can', Ben & Jerry's -- in conjunction with Common Cause -- renamed its Butter Pecan ice cream 'Yes Pecan'
The School of Visual Arts in NYC cued up one of Obama's inauguration soundbites to lure art students
Though they didn't use Obama's image or phrases, the folks at BMW didn't hesitate to take advantage of the media attention Cash for Clunkers was getting in late 2009
The first lady isn't immune either. This anti-fur ad from PETA featured Michelle Obama without permission, and drew some ire from the White House
And neither are the kids. Beanie Baby creator Ty unveiled two new dolls in '09 named 'marvellous Malia' and 'Sweet Sasha,' then denied accusations that they were based on the Obama sisters. It would later change the dolls' names to Mariah and Sydney
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