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December 21, 2013

History, Holiday Cards and that Obama “Visual Propaganda” Machine

Obamas Holiday Card 2006

If it’s a little harsh, this 2006 post at the Chicago Reader is an interesting read in light of today’s media attack on Obama’s White House over its use of (or, should I say, brilliance with?) visual marketing. The card circulated around Chicago in 2006, published by Obama’s campaign committee. Keep in mind, by the way, that the operation, on behalf of the sophomore Senator, was geared toward a 2010 Senate re-election campaign, not a 2008 presidential run.

Before Souza (the White House, Flickr and Instagram edition), before Callie Shell and before Obama was running for President (though who knows what was in the head of that king maker, Axelrod?), the Obamas were exhibiting some very sophisticated moves, and product, when it came to photography and photojournalism.

Mainly though, the thrust of the Reader’s hostility had to do with the photographer. Not just who it was, but that the Obama’s made a big deal out of it, prominently highlighting the photo credit on the back. Who knows, maybe a lot of second year Senators were distributing family holiday cards that year.  But not photographed by Annie Leibovitz.

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