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Obama Merchandise Mania - An Essay On Politics and Personality Marketing

Click through to Harold's Chicken Shack at Wikipedia
Everyone is getting on the Obama merchandise bandwagon. And I have a few fun ideas of my own. So, don't be surprised if you visit this marketing blog someday and discover its become Obama Stuff dot-com, replete with affiliate marketing products. Or, my own exclusive Obama-lovers goods.

You see, not only do I live in His city, Chicago, I live in the very community in which the president-elect resides: Hyde Park. I'm about five blocks from his barricaded, Secret Service-surrounded home.

Still, life goes on... He still uses the neighborhood to a limited extent. We see the motorcade going to and fro' all the time (always followed by an ambulance. A troubling necessity of his success.) He still uses his local barber. Although the barber now gets whisked away to haircut in an undisclosed location. Gone are the days when we'd see Senator Obama sitting inside that barbershop near the window.

With so much Obama-mania merchandising around I'm guessing the barber, the official escorts -- everyone -- probably has some side action selling anything Obama. Examples: Obama Hair Locks In a Box, Discarded Obama Socks, etc. And who could blame them, once you get a load of some of this stuff...
  • This is so not just a product-selling game for cable television or Time, Newsweek and Ebony magazines any more. Our local Walgreen's here in Hyde Park is practically wallpapered with Obama commemorative books, magazines, sweatshirts, t-shirts, calenders, caps and buttons. (Walgreen's stopped selling that weird dancing Obama novelty doll. But only because the batteries were faulty and sparked complaints.)

  • Speaking of Walgreen's... An employee says a Chicago Sun-Times delivery truck driver was robbed in the wee hours following the election. The crooks didn't want any money, he said. Only the now famous Mr. President-headlined newspapers. Oprah loved this newspaper, too. Thrilled with Barack Obama's win, Oprah jiggled that paper around the next day like a kid with a toy on Christmas. No wonder these sell like hotcakes on eBay.

  • Of course, numerous online Obama merchandise sites keep springing up, such as this page at Cafe Press. On Twitter, I learned of the many Obama handbags in the marketplace, such as this Obama purse. There's even this disgusting Obama dildo.

  • There's PBS with a "Senator Obama Goes to Africa" DVD. (I hope not the same way that Shaft went to Africa.) And now post-election, NBC enthusiastically peddles Barack Obama's life story on an Obama DVD titled "Yes We Can!" -- exclamation point and all!! The happy punctuation probably will sell NBC a few thousand copies more!!!

  • Last but not least, the City of Chicago is hawking the aroma of Obama as part of its bid to win the 2016 Olympics. The Obamas live right near the area where the City would build the (controversial) Olympic stadium. So, they'd be smart come 2016 to do some merchandising of their own. (Can adorable Sasha and Malia say "Welcome to the Obama Olympic B&B"?)
I'm sure you get the drift by now. Everyone's making money off of Obama but Obama.

As for my own money-maker? Well, last night in his 60 Minutes interview, Mr. Obama mentioned -- of ALL things -- Harold's Chicken Shack. The buzz about his mention of the city's popular hole-in-the-wall restaurant chain has everyone here atwitter.

So, it might be worth taking my camera and camping out near Harold's. Maybe I'd be lucky enough to catch the Obamas stopping by for a few of those chicken wings. Don't laugh: I could own the only photo on Earth worthy of replacing Harold's beloved zany logo -- a little chef with a hatchet chasing panicked poultry.

Now, if I could just get a snapshot of my famous neighbor running out of Harold's like that, we could turn that chicken shack signage world-famous. And with intellectual rights for such a dumb but viable idea I, too, could make money selling Obama's cult of personality online.

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