Nice to read today that Barack Obama has officially reached that uniquely American achievement of becoming a brand. “While many local tour companies now are offering visits to the old stomping grounds of President-elect Barack Obama, at least a dozen companies are using the Oahu-born politician’s name in their trademark or trade name,” reports today’s Pacific Business News.
Of course, we reduced Obama to a mere commodity long before his election as president. And the popularity of that commodity apparently hasn’t abated. Cafe Press, that great indicator of online consumer preference, currently offers 97,600 Obama-related designs on 3,050,000 products. (Those wanting to see more unusual Obama merchandise can click here.)
In fact, Obama-as-a-brand is probably a far greater achievement than even his historic winning of the White House. Our Constitution limits Obama to eight years in office, but the Obama brand is potentially eternal. It (branding unfortunately means that “he” is now an “it”) could generate revenue for decades, even generations. Look at Elvis, or The Beatles. They’re both long dead (sorry Paul and Ringo, but John and George are actually more alive than you two these days) but both are still raking in cash with no end in sight.
And they’re just musicians! Think of what President Obama, who seems to transcend race while offering hope to billions around the world, could bring in! And in a society built on markets and marketability, where every person is a consumer first and a citizen second, isn’t that the ultimate goal?