Pepsi Hijacks Some Obama Magic

My friend (and reader) Dorothy snapped these pictures in Washington, D.C. Friday of soft drink maker Pepsi’s “president-elect” inspired ad campaign. Using their new, modified red, white and blue circle logo like a half-grin version of the Obama rising sun logo, the Pepsi sphere has replaced the “O” in their one-word adverts, which include “hope” and “together.” Some banners even blatantly read “Yes You Can” in case the others were too subtle in their connection to the Big O.

Curiously, some banners read “Oh boy,” which depending on how you feel about the word “boy” can be seen as a little clunky or at worst, condescending.

Dot thought it was personally outrageous that anyone would use “boy” in an ad campaign obviously derived from the successful presidential campaign for an adult black man considering the negative history of the term and its use (usually to put black men “in their place”). Once my grandpa, then in his 70s, was called a “boy” by an Arkansas police officer young enough to be his son. We’re almost positive that wasn’t a term of endearment. But these banners were likely created by some clueless “boy geniuses” on Madison Avenue who know about as much about the history of “boy” and black men as they know what hominy grits are.

But this is just the latest reflection on Obama’s dynamic campaign and essence popping up in advertising. This time to peddle corn syrup sweetened, carbonated water. It would be offensive for being opportunistic, but this is America and this is capitalism at work. In light of the recession where people are cutting back on their pointless consumption of useless things, you can’t really blame Pepsi for trying to squeeze a good will, Obama dollar out of you by any means necessary. If Rocawear can sell “Roc-Obama” T-shirts at Macy’s and Pookie n’ em can sell bootleg Obama merch on the streets of D.C. this week, Pepsi is gonna get there’s.

We already know Tropicana may have got themselves an early start. (To see more of Dorothy’s photos and art, click here.)

3 thoughts on “Pepsi Hijacks Some Obama Magic

  1. It’s going a bit far to think it’s something racist behind it. It’s one of those things your friend was over thinking. It’s funny that a lot of places are trying to get in on the act though and increase sales in any way possible.

  2. If it was “Oh boy” once, I’d be totally with you—not only does that have serious racial overtones, but it sounds like an exasperated Republican (“Oh, boy, this is gonna suck”). But to me, “Oh boy oh boy oh boy” is excitement. It’s got an implied exclamation point at the end. It’s, “oh boy oh boy oh boy, I can’t WAIT for this inauguration! This is gonna be AWESOME!” Combined with the other slogans, that makes more sense to me.

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