CafePress Cultural Barometer

With an average of over 130,000 new designs uploaded every week, CafePress is often seen as a barometer for social and cultural hot topics.  When a hot topic surfaces; a T-shirt appears. An election argument breaks out, and you can sport a CafePress hat voicing your opinion within days. We here at CafePress also bring you a way to view these trends through our Cultural Barometer® tool.  Just one of the would-never-trade-it perks of living in a time of fast technology and instant gratification.

CafePress’ role as a cultural bellwether has been particularly noteworthy for 2012 (in this roller coaster ride of a political year). Pick a topic, and, if it stirs the emotions of the populace, there’s practically a guarantee that topically designs will hit T-shirts, hats, bumper stickers, pins, and other gear and then sell on CafePress.

Professor Tim Hagle, political expert at the University of Iowa, notes, “The 2012 presidential election will be the first where Twitter, Facebook and CafePress have come into their own. Campaign utterances such as ‘corporations are people,’ ‘the 47%,’ ‘fair share of taxes,’ ‘you didn’t build that,’ and ‘culture of dependency’ are here to stay—via tweets, pages and product designs. Due to pop culture, politics watchers will long remember these sound bite moments.”

From the curious comments about dog carriers and dogs for dinner, the new normal of print-on-demand products and omnipresent social media creates a 2012 presidential race that’s far from “politics as usual.” A candidate misspeaks or expresses a belief, and designers are there jump with a marketable conversation documenting every marketable “oops” moment along the campaign trail.

Biden’s “chains” remark – we’ve got a shirt for that.

Romney’s 47% – we’ve got a shirt for that.

Ryan’s marathon time – we’ve got a shirt for that.

Obama’s “You didn’t build that” remark – we’ve got a shirt for that.

Got a hot topic?

Make a political misstep?

Guess what?

We likely have a t-shirt for that.

  1. Would be very interesting to see if Cafepress searches could somehow anticipate economic activity, or consumer sentiment. Now if that were somehow accomplished, could you imagine the attention Cafepress would get!

  2. In addition to politics, why not apply this unique cultural barometer to the popular culture–determining which movies/television shows/celebrities/fads are popular at any given moment.

    Would be very interesting to have a separate website which follows these trends. Once enough data was collected, it would provide a history of our present culture.

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