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Obama Swag Stimulates Economy


Hope, change great buzzwords for advertising.

Some revered him as a savior long before he set foot in the Oval Office. Now that's he's ready for his White House close-up, President Barack Obama is looking to a multi-faceted approach to help resuscitate the American economy.

But the sheer brilliance of the president's iconography, established over almost 2 years of nationwide campaigning, is already helping to build up certain industries. It's a fascination that, for better or worse, has created its own unique cottage industry - and is starting to expand far beyond politics.

The fascination with Barack Obama was percolating long before November 4th. But the day after that historic election, the nation's newspapers experienced a run on print issues not seen in ages.

On the morning of November 5th, people lined up to buy copies of the New York Times. In response, the paper printed 75,000 additional copies, which subsequently sold out; the company then printed an additional 150,000 copies of the November 5th paper to be sold through that weekend and via mail order. Commemorative Obama issues of Time and Newsweek also saw considerable spikes in sales. Sensing an opportunity, the country's publishers dove headfirst into an Obama business that extended beyond political coverage.

In the weeks following Obama's election, the Chicago Sun-Times began selling commemorative copies of their November 5th paper on eBay (EBAY) for $350 a pop. Through the sale of Obama-related merchandise, the New York Times (which has been selling authentic Obama photos and assorted Obamabilia on their website for as much as $1,099] has sold close to $2 million in Obama-related merchandise; the Los Angeles Times has sold close to $1 million.

With Obama items ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, Madison Avenue has also started deconstructing Obama's marketing success. Take Pepsi's (PEP) new logo, for example, which drew immediate comparisons to the Obama campaign logo:

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Of course, Pepsi's new "Yes You Can" slogan speaks for itself.

And these incredible similarities could just be the beginning: A great deal of attention has been paid to Obama's official font, Gotham. Originally designed for GQ, Gotham has quickly become branding and marketing's go-to typeface. Over the life of the Obama campaign, it's been used by brands ranging from Banana Republic (GPS) to Kia Motors to Saks Fifth Avenue (SKS) to Coca-Cola (KO) to Saturday Night Live.

And with Obama's old Chrysler retailing for over $100,000 on eBay, there's no telling how far the new president's populist appeal may go.
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