Author: Jeremy Hockett (Michigan State University)
The title of this essay plays off Frederic Jameson’s book title, Postmodernism or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. His general notion of the ‘logic of late capitalism’ guides an analysis of the celebrity rise of George W. Bush into a full-fledged brand known as ‘W’ or ‘Dubya’. Following what I call the Logos of logos, the semiotic and symbolic messages contained within a variety of Brand W campaign merchandise are analyzed and discussed as a ‘meaning system’ that targets emotional, rather than rational, political reaction. Blurring the lines between politician and celebrity, the symbolic imagery of Brand W products creates an aura around George W. Bush by exploiting techniques adopted from marketing and advertising, which tends to reduce highly complex socio-political issues down to facile emotive appeals. Thus, political discourse itself becomes reduced to a war of image rather than ideas, resulting in a democratic process that is increasingly dysfunctional and strategically divisive.
Keywords: political campaigns, semiotics, George W. Bush, material culture, celebrity, Branding
How to Cite: Hockett, J. (2017) “Brand “W” and the Marketing of an American President: Or, Logos as Logos”, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture. 2(2). doi: https://doi.org/10.16997/wpcc.25