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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rubbernecking Democracy: Pepsi endorses president-elect

While watching an AP report from the war in Gaza on YouTube, an advertisement at the bottom of the screen invited me to contribute to America. I think the exact words, from the new Pepsi campaign, were "Dear Mr. President, Help us refresh the nation." Everyone it seems has jumped on the Obama merchandising bandwagon. Yesterday in the New York Times, a briefly quoted DC lawyer astutely observed the recent Obama consumption mania thusly: "when Americans want to express their excitement, they turn to merchandising."

With so many people having voted for Mr. Obama (or claiming to after the fact), it's no surprise that everyone wants a piece of him. How many articles have been written about the president-elect and his choice of cell phone? A quick search on listed over 1,000. In addition to the usual T-shirts, bobbleheads, bumper stickers, key chains, mugs, jewelry, and tote bags, collectors will be going mad for more obscure tchotchke such as DC Metro faircards and toilet paper. Is it that far off to predict that one day Obama memorabilia could outnumber that of Elvis's? The younger set may even live to see thirty Obamas parachute from an airplane.

It's nice to see a multinational corporation such as Pepsi contributing to the celebration of democracy. (According to the Center for Responsive Politics, out of the $279,561 PepsiCo contributed to federal candidates in 2008, 58% went to Republicans.) Perhaps after the inauguration Pepsi could turn its resources and attention to promoting peace in the Middle East. Now that's change we need. But then again, that would require Pepsi to actually take a position on a live issue, not after the fact.

—Lance Wakeling


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