Obama’s campaign – no longer a font of wisdom

A quick typographical look at Barack Obama’s second presidential campaign, so far.

When Barack Obama’s first campaign appeared it was all strength and clarity. The HOPE poster made him and his message iconic. For some, the arrival of Barack Obama in American politics was nothing short of messianic. Now, with Obama facing a second-term showdown with Republican Mitt Romney, comes this…

Your President is now embracing into shabby-chic and oil burners. He wants you to feel warm in your own home – but not with strong leadership, diplomacy and economic stability but with Ugg boots and personalised Snuggies. This looks like something pinned by a pastel-wearing scrapbooker on Pinterest. Surely a message can target women without using mint green?

But it’s not just the feminised approach Obama is taking that is bothersome. His messages are clouded by so many different typefaces that any thread is lost amongst all the marketing tactics they are throwing up.

This poster is obviously not too big to fail. I can’t read it without concentrating closely. The multiple fonts are a mess and it feels like an optometrist’s test.

This is about as far from ‘presidential’ as it gets.Feels like an online t-shirt shop. (So I guess it got that right.)

Slick cases with the chunky block serifs evoking competitive NFL and NHL teams. So, it’s a youthful brand but still a bit combative. I like it. Click pic to see more in the store.

This one doesn’t even mention Obama by name. Reminds me of the woven badges I used to collect as a kid.

Standard Obama typeface in three different versions. And presented like bunting usually seen at a convention or a sporting event. George looks like he needs a Nespresso.

Oooo, that’s clever. And no doubt enough to convince some young voters that Obama is in fact Irish.

This is the most surprising use of frilly fonts to me. The titling of the event looks to be lifted from a cheesy royal wedding mug or the movie poster for a romantic comedy. I realise they are friends but this is taking it pretty far, even for a campaign clearly looking to target women

This underlining and alternating fonts – serif to sans-serif – is a familiar tool the Obama team uses and is brought over from the Obama HOPE campaign. You can scan it and immediately get the big points. What’s new is the rain, which tells us he is steadfast, embattled and he likes Kevin Costner films.

Next week: Romney employs bubble fonts.

Zero-sum game: Why Coke wants you to switch

If you are like me you only drink Coke every once in a while. But recent television ad showing a cinema attendant who switches drinks on patrons still has me annoyed.

It could be the teenager’s smarmy style or it could be the fact that he’s failing at the one task he has now that the collection of movie tickets is largely automated. But the real problem lives in Coke’s attempt to change people’s habits because of rising commodity prices. It’s no surprise they want to save money and, as this graph shows, sugar prices have risen threefold in the last four years.

I actually think Coke Zero tastes fine and nobody needs the six teaspoons of sugar. So my question is why have we been dealt at an unhealthy alternative for years?

You can be sure that sales if Zero are set to climb in line with Coca-Cola’s ad spend, as the popularity of the regular drink starts it’s gradual decline into obsolescence.

(Surely, the sugar-free version will eventually become the standard version and, in a flurry of good PR, people will applaud what is really a cost-saving move cloaked as a health-conscious rebranding exercise.)

But, there’s a sting in the tail.

If the anti-sugar advocates are correct and sugar is an addictive ‘poison’, should we now expect to see a slump in sales without this lethal ingredient to hook in weak-willed soft-drink consumers?

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