What beer would Obama choose for the Gates-Crowley meetup?

Posted on Mon Jul 27 2009


In seeking a resolution to the racially charged fracas over the arrest of black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates last week, President Obama has famously urged Gates and arresting officer Jim Crowley to have a beer together at the White House in what the president hopes will be a "teachable moment." That may be, but it could also be a very brand-able moment for the beer that's chosen to break the ice. But which brand would it be? If Obama had his druthers, the two would be imbibing Budweiser. In a February interview on Fox News, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs revealed the former all-American and now Belgian-owned brew as the president's favorite. Benj Steinman, president of Beer Marketer's Insights in West Nyack, N.Y., didn't care to venture a guess as to which brand of beer Obama would tap for the occasion, but said that the president's use of beer as a social lubricant was welcome. "It's come up a couple of times," Steinman says. "He likes his beer." UPDATE: Obama will indeed have a Budweiser, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday. Crowley will have a Blue Moon, and Gates will drink a Becks or a Red Stripe, according to CNN.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Coke, not Pepsi, reportedly the choice of Obama administration

Posted on Fri Feb 27 2009


Pepsi is the one that's gone ga-ga for Barack Obama, with its similar logo and call for a refreshed and renewed America. But according to Time magazine's White House correspondent, Michael Scherer, who has his finger on the pulse, it's Coke, not Pepsi, that's the choice of this new administration.
  Obama himself doesn't care much for either beverage. (He prefers Honest Tea, apparently.) But as Scherer reports, his advisers tend to prefer Coke. "Several senior Administration officials are committed cola drinkers, and without fail they spend their days sipping from a can of Diet Coke, a product of Pepsi's chief competitor, Coca-Cola," Scherer writes. Devotees include Larry Summers, Obama's top economic adviser, who "rarely walks anywhere in the White House complex without a can of Diet Coke in his hand. He is well known for interrupting conversations to take another swig."
  Scherer asked another White House official, who had a can of Diet Coke on his desk, whether the Obama administration had a clear bias for Coke over Pepsi. The official, who was granted anonymity, perhaps because he wasn't authorized to discuss such a sensitive topic in public, replied, "I think that's true. Don't most Americans?"

—Posted by Tim Nudd

Obama will share a beer with Hannity, as long as it's Budweiser

Posted on Tue Feb 10 2009

Apparently, the goons at Fox News are all atwitter about the possibility of President Obama having a beer with Sean Hannity. It's hard to see why Hannity would want to pal around with someone who the Fox anchor says cavorted with terrorists, or why Obama would want to legitimize an angry and increasingly irrelevant right-winger. But so be it. The real brand news that came out of this whole fracas is that Obama is apparently a Bud man—a brave stand these days, given the mounting criticism of the brand's nefarious Belgian origins.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Anyone else want to try out a red, white and blue circular logo?

Posted on Thu Feb 5 2009

Fourlogos copy

Perhaps Pepsi didn't rip off the Obama logo after all. Korean Air, established in the 1970s, has its own Pepsi-ish logo, a play on the lovely and balanced red-and-blue circle on the South Korean flag. Pepsi's latest campaign brought forth a new uber-shiny and more lopsided version of the logo developed and redeveloped since the 1950s (umm, check out the Studebaker motor company symbol, too). Actually, the new Pepsi logo looks less like the Korean Air mark than the old Pepsi logo did. Thanks, Pepsi. Now, when I take a sip, I won't worry that I'm being whisked off to Asia.

—Posted by Yana Polikarpov

Meetup, HuffPo certainly know where to find the Obama fans

Posted on Mon Jan 26 2009


Meetup, a Web site that gives people the tools to organize and form communities, met up with The Huffington Post to distribute 500,000 nametags at last Tuesday's presidential inauguration in a campaign to elevate the level of discourse above an awkward "What's your party affiliation, baby?" or "Hey, come to the Washington Monument often?"
  The goal was to break the ice in a crowd of chilly strangers and turn them into a community. "Two million people were there all for the same reason—to celebrate," says Sam Ewen, founder/CEO of Interference Inc., the New York creative agency that developed and executed the stunt. "We figured they were going to have all of this downtime—three, four, five hours of waiting—so why not get involved with each other? Why not look at the person next to you and know their name and where they're from?"
  People were given up to five stickers and encouraged to hand out the other four to people they didn't know. The "Hello my name is _____" stickers contained minimal Meetup messaging. Back panels contained small Meetup and HuffPo logos, along with a four-step "Be like Barack" community organizing plan.
  Interference had about 180 people on site executing the stunt, and half a million stickers were dispersed in six and a half hours. Since street traffic was shut off from Monday on, trucks of stickers had to be driven in two days early and kept in the yards of strategically located people contacted through Craigslist.

—Posted by Becky Ebenkamp

Obama product tie-ins get chapped with new Obalma lip balm

Posted on Tue Jan 20 2009


OK, we know brands are excited about leeching off the popularity of the new president. But the trend veers off into crazy land with Obalma lip balm.
  Created by the skin protection brand Shaka Laka, the "change-inspired" lip-care product is flavored red, white and blueberry. "It is time to inaugurate a new taste sensation and usher in an era of freedom, hope and yummy goodness," says the release. "The State of the Nation has never been so tasteful."
   The company also decided give a nod to vice president Joe Biden with, I kid you not, ham-and-cheese-flavored lip balm. Now, that's in bad taste.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Maybe brands shouldn't be quite so excited about Obama

Posted on Fri Jan 16 2009

Brand-obama copy

Red, white and blue donuts at Dunkin' Donuts. Limited-edition inaugural collector's packs of nuts from Planters. "Yes Pecan" ice cream from Ben & Jerry's. These are just a few examples of brands attempting to latch onto Obama-mania. Indeed, a good part of the country is ready for a change and jazzed for the inauguration. Pepsi, T.G.I. Friday's and Ikea certainly are.
  But the reality is, 43 percent of voters didn't want Obama as the next president (not to mention many people who didn't vote), and lots of them won't be celebrating on Jan. 20. One person recently said to me: "Let's hope he doesn't screw it up too bad during his four years so we can get a Republican back in office." This person, and many like him, still bitter about the election and the country about to be ruled by Democrats, are not going to want to celebrate with some inauguration-day trail mix and a can of Pepsi.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Stetson really wants Obama to wear a hat at the inauguration

Posted on Thu Jan 15 2009


Ever look at an old photo and notice how all the men are wearing fedoras? Ever wonder when they all quit wearing them? The story goes that back in 1961, when JFK became the first president to take the oath of office sans chapeau, men all over America started leaving their brims at home—to the dismay, and largely the demise, of hat makers everywhere.
  The Stetson company (one of the few survivors in the men's millinery biz) has not forgotten the affront, and is now attempting to correct 48 years and nine presidents' worth of hatless history with a flashy new fedora called the Presidential Pinnacle. The Denver-based company says it will dispatch a writer/director named Josh Shayne to Washington for the inauguration on Tuesday, where he will "attempt to hand-deliver this Stetson hat to Obama with the hope that he will wear it," according to the press release. (For just $295, you can buy a Presidential Pinnacle at HatForObama.com. Yes, you can.)
  No matter what happens, Stetson's got a marketing topper on its hands. Either Obama puts on the felt, or Shayne looks dapper in it as the Secret Service drags his Tased body away in handcuffs.

—Posted by Robert Klara



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