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Ivan's picture

Portrayal of George W. Bush in international advertisements

George W. Bush is undoubtedly one of the most popular figures of current times. He's infamous for many things he misspoke and his views on how to handle national security. His ideology affected not only the United States, but the whole world in a major way. No wonder he's been on top of mind for many creatives and became the hero of numerous advertisements in the last few years.

Here is a collection of some of the most interesting ads that dissect his character in order to sell an idea or a product. You be the judge whether they are successful in achieving this objective.


Let me start the showcase with this ad made for Milenio, a Mexican newspaper who claims they solved the inner workings of Bush's personality. Simpson + Texas cowboy = GWB. The tagline reads: "Such a complex world needs a good explanation."


In this highly diplomatic ad (what else would you expect from Britain) Marmite Squeezy claims Bush's just like the funny tasting sirup: "You either love it or hate it."



Non-profit groups use Bush as the topic of their campaign regularly. Here Greenpeace China brings up controvercial issues and claims: "Everyone's entitled to an opinion. Voice yours at forum.greenpeace.org"


Tesa an adhesive tape brand thinks Bush should be silenced. The headline of the Brazilian ad says: "The world needs a tape like this." and later quotes Bush: "Are you going to ask that question with shades on? For the viewers there's no sun". — George W. Bush, addressing a blind reporter during a press conference.


Bush has even unknowingly been recruited to sell cars. On a more political tone this poorly art directed smart ad from Malaysia reads: "Still looking for weapons of mass destruction. Not smart." I guess the viewer is supposed to complete the sentence saying, but getting a smart car for myself that uses up little of our precious non-renewable resources is smart.


Amnesty International Spain thinks they are like a fly you can't get rid of. I guess in some cases being associated with an annoying insect is a good thing in some twisted way.


Another AI campaign this time from Malaysia urges you to: "Write to him and help stop torture at Guantanamo Bay." Then makes a snotty remark: "Remember, use simple words". Ouch.




Sport Factory Outlet sells bicycle helmets in Switzerland and promises to prevent and injury to your head, so you can avoid saying silly things. The ad claims: "George W. Buch has fallen off the bicycle more than once.


If you voted for GWB an ad from Hong Kong washes the guilt away when they declare: "Everyone makes mistakes", but with Stabilo Ereasable pen you could've corrected the ballot.


Amnesty International again. This time they suggest that their site powerofyourvoice.org can put words like this into Bush's mouth: "Guantanamo is illegal. We must close it as soon as possible."


In San Francisco the billboards of the movie Lord of War were defaced with Bush's collage picture made from portraits of dead soldiers.




More NGO ads this time from Denmark that directly address the president and state: "It's torture no matter what George Bush calls it."


Lipton from Australia argues their ice tea would allow for surprising mental achievements for the president. He would be able to successfully name all 50 US states without outside help. According to the ad: Bush credits his monumental improvement to a "magic water" from "Chinaland".


TVNZ New Zealand is pretty straightforward about their views on Bush. They advertise the famous movie American Psycho with the head of state on this outdoor board. For those who have not seen it, Bush isn't part of the movie.


But of course you would have to go to Brazil for the strongest critique. On this ad for Rolling Stones magazine they profess: "We don't show naked women to sell more. At the most, we show some asses."


There are of course more mellow ads out there. The Times magazine from the UK advertises their new full color edition (they have to compete with the Internet in some way) with Bush envisioned in a color vision testing chart and asks: "Are your eyes ready for more colourful news?"


Another newspaper called Egoista from Portugal suggests a dove (representing peace) will poo on Bush's shoulder and makes him responsible for recent wars with their tagline: "since 1945 there have been only 26 days of peace in the world." Oh, come on! Bush has only been at war for the last 7-8 years since he became a president.


Another public interest campaign portrays Bush as silly kid who doesn't want to hear a word they say. This ad from Budapest, Hungary was publicizing the Make some noise for human rights concert held on the Danube river in front of the building of the Parliament.


Accroding to magazine Novynar Bush sees the world map in a different way everybody else does. US is in the dead centre of everything. I fail to see what's wrong with this view!


Ad school students are using Bush in their ads frequently. Like in this award winning ad, that I must admit I don't understand. Enlighten me if you do.


The South African History Channel ad reads: "Unfortunately, we do show repeats." playing on the popular saying — history repeats itself.


On a lighter note a paint ball park in Portugal suggests you could be Bush if you feel like playing war games.


This ad from Cape Town for the local newspaper argues if Bush is public enemy No1 by eroding freedom?


If you're all worked up, you should relax with the Spanish Susaron anti-stress tea. Strange art direction that manages to give me a headache without even reading the headline: "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction."


This Mexican ad for a dog kennel is ready to accept Bush to their premises: "We don't discriminate any kind of breed." (In Mexico "Dog" means lowlife)


The Arno blender can do funny things. Like mixing up old Bush with the lead character of Mad Magazine to create GWB. Don't you need to involve a female somewhere in the process?


Dreamland bedding also promises to cure angry souls disturbed by the oil wars: "Who says there's no rest for the Wicked? Dreamland — The sleep through the night mattress."


Even the BBC World news channel took up the subject of having two sides of each story to popularize themselves in the USA. On one side we see a scared muslim family and on the other a confident US president on TV.


In case of Diario a Brazilian newspaper the ad suggested that there are more to reality than meets the eye. A pleasant meeting between Blair and Bush is just the tip of the ice-berg. Beneath we find war, oil, suffering, money and torture.


A Romanian sticker company IPPU claims they can create realistic looking compositions that could never have occurred, like a meeting between GWB and Fidel Castro.


And in Chile in Scrabble terms Fidel Castro equals George Bush. Each worth 17 points in the game.


On this Vodka campaign from New York Bush's life is distilled into a few cliparts.


This ad belongs to the WTF chategory. The project never actually materialized.


In Germany a compact size newspaper created the toddler version of Bush. He was a cute kid.


Finally two TV spots. The first one shows GWB in an unfavorable way acting like an animal. In the second one South China Morning Post showcases how the paper helps Bush with his speech at an important moment.

I hope Bush doesn't watch TV or reads the paper, because seeing all this must be depressing.

Reddit: http://reddit.com/info/6j1gd/comments

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

spigot's picture
190 pencils

It's very hard to judge these in an objective way given that Bush is such a polarizing person, and that he's very tied to history (some of the ads seem almost quaint now, looking back).

But leaving aside my political views, I'd say that many of these were poorly conceptualized. Given Bush's extreme unpopularity however, I'd guess they were also very effective.

~

Ivan's picture

Yes, most of them are trying to involve the reader by saying, we hate him as much as you do, now buy my shit. :)

SlowX's picture
44 pencils

when you put it like that, they don't seem so cool anymore.
:|

shoaf's picture
78 pencils

Most of these do seem rather weak conceptually... or at least come from weak minds for weak-minded audiences, but...

It seems that these kind of things have been going on at least since the Reagan administration (perhaps before, but I was too young to understand prior to that), seemingly increasing in quantity with each US President. I know if I were running for office this year, I'd sure expect to see plenty of this kind of stuff about me if I were to be elected. That said, this is just one of many reasons I'd never want the president's job.

But it sure would be nice to have a president that the rest of the world could take seriously for more than the first couple weeks of being in office.

Waleed's picture
540 pencils

Well, capitalizing on a strong concept is the way to go to guarantee attraction to read the ad. Choosing a character like George W. Bush who is portrayed in the political arena as "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" is a smart way of getting reactions..

Not very creative, but still..

joshuatree0587's picture
70 pencils

To explain the award winning ad by the NRDC, "This is how nature sees you.":

It's believed that most animals only see in black and white. So the advertisement has a dual meaning. Nature sees us in black and white, true. Nature sees us as George Bush. That's the side that should make you stop and think, "Wait, I don't want to be like George Bush".

functioncreep's picture
135 pencils

that the natural world is governed by our leadership which is currently that {deleted}. He is our representative - whether we like it or not.

caoimghgin's picture
852 pencils

As much as I dislike Reagan, even he was not hated with the same passion and loathing that GWB enjoys. Bush's popularity rating is now 24%, the lowest of any modern American president in history. On the other hand, Reagan's popularity only went down to 46% during the Iran-Contra hearings.

Bush has become a caricature of ignorance, ego, privilege & slavish pandering to multi-national corporate interests. His legacy will be similar to the iconic smilie face of the 60's but representing a very opposite sentiment. What designer could not take advantage of such a symbol?

Still, we must consider GWB as merely the lightning rod attached to the house of the 'Project for a New American Century' think-tank; The the real architects of Americas foreign policy failures. In this light, GWB has served his masters well.

Without my sense of direction, I don't know where I'd be.

DiRT's picture
1 pencil

Your mommy still won't hug you enough? :(

Rob C's picture
5 pencils

People can't rant about the worst president in history. Let them get it off their chest, relax dirt.

I never knew u could use the president in advertisements.

SlowX's picture
44 pencils

my understanding is that once someone enter political office they become part of the public domain: we the people own them. laws of libel/slander still apply (i.e. can't have an add from burger king w/ w saying"I love eating whoppers"), and copyright laws still apply (i.e. you'd still need a photog's permission to use his/her photo in an ad), but otherwise it's like using a tree in an ad.

i remember when arnold became governor of CA. a company tried to capitalize on his fame by creating bobbleheads of him, but to remain legal they had to be arnold bobblehads, not terminator bobbleheads.

at least that's my understanding...

Ivan's picture
olliesan1's picture
288 pencils

Looks a lot like the syrup ad.

While his time as president has provided lots of laughs (mostly via The Daily Show) I'll be happy to see him go. Though I think if McCain gets elected he'll keep it going. And if Palin ends up President there'll be no end to the jokes (we'll be crying and laughing simultaneously)

sakibafridi's picture
2 pencils

The famous Neil French's Panadol ad:
http://neilfrench.com/panadol/SLIDE/1.html

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