Branding the Flag

I’m going to really step in it today, but a (political/branding) discussion with strong feelings is already brewing, and maybe we can attempt to have a reasonable conversation about it.

Think with me for a few minutes.

Yesterday, on the Barack Obama twitter feed, the following tweet appeared, with a link leading to the image shown below:

(one of several posters you can order for $35.00)

My immediate reaction was one of being offended, a sentiment shared by many others, judging from the on-line reaction. This is hardly, of course, the first time that the American flag has been artistically altered in some fashion. However, the immediate message that this graphic sent to me was that we Americans are to be united under Mr. Obama. The replacement of the 50 stars and the 13 stripes (representing people and states united under a Constitution), seemed jarring and presumptuous. If a big Romney R were in the upper left corner, I’d feel the same way. From a branding perspective, should it not be obvious that this approach would offend many who feel a deep reverence for the American flag? How would people in the Armed Services feel about seeing this rendition?

You. Just. Don’t. Do. That. Or so it seemed to me on the gut reaction level.

But that’s my reaction. And I’m interested to know how others feel. I’m going to encourage you to add your comment, but here are the ground rules:

1. In one sentence, describe your gut emotional reaction to this graphic and approach, in one of three ways: Offensive, Neutral, Positive.

2. In that same sentence or perhaps one other, explain why you feel that way.

On this blog, we talk a lot about branding, and a lot about condensed and vivid messaging. Political campaigns are all about that. I’d like to know how others respond to altered flag imagery.

DO NOT go off on a political rampage about Romney, Obama, Bush, Iraq, the deficit, Putin, Ayn Rand, or whatever – those arguments are raging everywhere and this blog isn’t the place for it. Don’t go on a bashing rampage about “the other” political party. I’ll delete such comments. Let’s keep it to a discussion of this one issue about use of American flag imagery in this particular instance. If you have longer-form thoughts about artistic use of flag imagery in general, you might want to have that discussion on your own blog. Agreed?

Go!

White House nukes LA to get fresh earthquake photos – Obama apologetic

nukeRealizing that the Administration did not have any fresh, updated photos of earthquake disasters, chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel today secretly ordered the destruction of most of Los Angeles by dropping a thermonuclear bomb in order to trigger a massive earthquake.

The city is now a glowing ruin, with casualty estimates in the millions. However, “we got some really great aerial shots, since our entire fleet of F-15’s was deployed with high-speed cameras. A few – well, actually 23 – planes were incinerated in the event, but with live satellite feeds, those who had the nearest-angle shots actually gave their lives for something worthy – great close-ups of an earthquake-inducing mushroom cloud captured via live satellite feed. Awesome!”

quakeThose not instantly killed by the thermonuclear explosion were buried under tons of rubble by the Richter 8.8 quake which followed, leaving a 34-mile valley of destruction coursing across Southern California. Remote cameras had been set up in advance to capture the carnage, and some of the shots “rivalled our best footage of Air Force One circling Lady Liberty!” exalted Emmanuel, clearly pleased that his careful planning had paid off.

Rumors that Hugo Chavez’ latest book was airdropped over the stricken city just before the cataclysmic blast were promptly denied. However, Arlen Specter is said to be re-considering his switch to the Democratic party, because “I’ve already got Three Mile Island hanging over me. Now this? I’m toxic enough already!”

Al Gore immediately chartered a private jet to fly over the area on a mission of mercy, dropping coupons for carbon credits on any surviving victims who may be concerned about the impact of nuclear fallout on climate change. “It was the least I could do,” stated Mr Gore, before jetting off to another celebrity-studded Save the Earth gabfest. Meanwhile, a swarm of ACORN community organizers donned hazmat suits and spread throughout the affected area, restoring polling places and registering the dead for the next election cycle.

obamaReporters were careful not to fault President Obama for the event, as there really had been a great need for better disaster images which was met by the carefully-orchestrated photo op. Nonetheless, the President did apologize, promising a prompt review by a blue-ribbon panel of congressional supporters who will ultimately blame FEMA and former President Bush for the fiasco. Obama is tapping former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin and former Illinois governer Rod Blagojevich to head up re-construction efforts.

The handful of surviving residents of Los Angeles were infuriated by the episode, but ultimately supported the President, realizing that the damage was nothing a few quadrillion dollars of debt couldn’t fix. The Obama plan to nationalize Hollywood will actually continue to move forward, however, with Bank of America being secretly charged to buy the distressed assets of the immolated industry.

————-

Prior StickyFigure spoofs

Subscribe to the StickyFigure blog

Connect with Steve Woodruff

New “TwIndependent” Party Springs up Overnight

In a stunning move that has rocked the Presidential election season, a large group of disgruntled Twitter micro-bloggers has banded together and crowd-sourced a new political party in 24 hours, calling themselves the TwIndependents.

Sick of all the mud-slinging and shallow lies of both Republican and Democratic candidates, the TwIndependents, who have solved many of the world’s problems previously via social media, have hammered together a 140-character platform stressing free thought, universal understanding, and hearty beer.

Informed by late night DMs that they had been drafted as figureheads for the party, presidential candidate Gary Vaynerchuk and vice-presidential candidate Chris Brogan immediately hit the ground running with policy tweets and 12-second videos on such themes as economic recovery, the war in Iraq, Peruvian Pinot Noir, and mobile uploads.

“We’re bringing some partisan THUNDER!!” declared Gary Vee, underscoring his disdain for the current two-party system with a hearty spit into a NY Jets bucket. “The current candidates smell like a combination of old armpit and dried cowpies, along with a slightly grassy nose up-front and some Dr. Scholl’s foot powder on the mid-palate. It’s swill, baby! Me and Chris are going to take these oak monsters DOWN!!”

In a more measured tone, Mr. Brogan listed 14 reasons why the TwIndependent ticket was worth considering, along with 12 links to similar tickets in the past, and 5 counter-balancing principles to consider about voting for such a tech-heavy ticket. He also promised to provide more information at upcoming conferences where he is scheduled to speak, on October 10, 13th, 16th, 18th, 21st, 24th, 27th, and 3 webinars to be named later.

Given the heavy road schedule of both candidates leading up to the surprise announcement, Twitter conspiracy theorists were already speculating that this had been in the works for some time, and that both men had, in fact, been covertly campaigning all along. Newly-anointed TwIndependent party head Lucretia Pruitt denied that this was the case, stating that “all of this got started around my normal 3:30 am bedtime, and we had a full-fledged political movement launched by 8:00 am. That’s not even time to pal around with terrorists or drive kids to a hockey game, let alone anything else of a nefarious nature.”

The blogosphere was lit up with the suggestion that the next presidential debate occur via streaming video from Robert Scoble‘s phone, moderated by Leo LaPorte with responses limited to 140 characters or oncoming nausea, whichever comes first.

Other spoofs by Steve Woodruff:

Well-known Blogger Demoted to “Q-List”

Twitter Rockstar Half-Year Calendar…Tweeet!

…and, from the pharma-focused Impactiviti blog:

Doctors now to be Required to Consult with Patients

Cure for ADRD (Attention Deficit Relational Disorder) Announced!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 154 other followers