Tuesday, June 5, 2012

retro politics?

column by Judith Grey in Daily Beast argues that Obama's "Forward" slogan may not resonate with a public that wants to go backward:

"The slogan was intended to communicate the idea that the country should go forward and not regress to the pre-2008 policies that engendered the financial crisis from which the country is presently trying to extricate itself. It’s a reasonable thought, but it fails to take into account one important reality of our world today: Americans—perhaps more than at any other period in the country’s history—actually want to go backward.  

"Way backward. Ideally, to some time during the ’60s. 

"For argument’s sake, let’s say 1967. That’s the year in which this season of AMC’s increasingly popular advertising period drama, Mad Men, transpires. Since its inception in 2007, the show’s viewership has increased almost fourfold, and it has become one of the most culturally salient influences of our time"

Not all convincing, the argument made here, overall (the comparison of Mr and Mrs Romney with Don and Betty Draper especially unconvincing) but some interesting snippets:

"Just last week, Banana Republic reported its best first quarter ever with sales generated from its Mad Men collection, a line of ’60s-inspired apparel that the company began designing as a cross-promotion with the series in 2010.
"Tommy Hilfiger, another global American fashion brand, has also experienced extraordinary growth using a backward-gazing advertising campaign. Since launching its retro-chic, Romney-clan-resembling “Meet the Hilfigers” offensive in 2010, the company has enjoyed a double-digit increase in sales and seen considerable worldwide expansion.
"Instagram is another case in point. The photo-sharing app that was recently sold to Facebook for a billion dollars ... also peddles in reminiscence. Instagram’s most distinctive feature is that the images it produces have a 4:3 aspect ratio, resembling the square-shape proportion of photos produced by the Instamatic camera manufactured by Kodak in the early ’60s. The app’s other cherished attribute is that it can imbue an image with a patina similar to that of a Polaroid that’s been lying at the bottom of a shoebox for 50 years.

"Face it, nostalgia is in"

That's true, but let's hope Ms Grey is wrong about November seeing  American decide it would rather "Rewind with Romney" than inch tentatively and falteringly "Onward with Obama".

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