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President Obama’s popular appeal makes him a dream for marketing companies looking to siphon profits by using his image and rhetoric. So it should come as no surprise that the White House is looking into copyrighting “brand Obama.”
“Our lawyers are working on developing a policy that will protect the presidential image while being careful not to squelch the overwhelming enthusiasm that the public has for the president,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Obama’s calls for change and his “Yes We Can” campaign mantra are being evoked to sell assembly-required furniture in Ikea’s “Embrace Change” marketing campaign, bargain airfares during Southwest Airlines Inc.’s “Yes You Can” sale and “Yes Pecan” ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. shops.
Riding the wave of Obama’s popularity may become a concern when advertisers use his likeness without permission to imply that Obama is endorsing a product or cause. The White House through the years has objected to commercial use of presidential faces, such as footage of President George H W Bush in a Cold War-themed 1989 television ad for cold medication.
Is “si se puede” going to come under attack?
Given the massive sale revenues generated using brand Obama, how much is he worth? Can he sell himself and just pay off some of the trade deficit that may help hedge U.S. dollar and restore some credit credibility to this country?
It’s not clear who will lose from this precisely, but the winners list is quite apparent with White House litigators at the very top.