What’s in a T-shirt

We’ve been talking about the trend of anti-Obama T-shirts and pro-Obama T-shirts for awhile now, noting that the infusion of anti-Obama merchandise is to be expected given the artistic cycle of a Presidential election.

Not surprisingly, the trend we’ve seen isn’t isolated to our own website.  The AP just ran a story about the falloff of Obama merchandise and its effect on vendors (and yep, we’re mentioned).

The trends we see would indicate that consumers refine their politics through merchandise once a candidate is elected.  Whereas “Hope” or “Change” were enough to symbolize everything Obama pre-election, these days both pro and anti-camps tend to focus more on policy.  Of course, supporting the President can be as simple as a straightforward “Obama” T-shirt, but we do see increasing numbers of more specific designs on both sides of the political fence – from healthcare to beer summit – that transcend the generalized persona and drill down to specific concerns of the American conscience.

This pattern is a replay of the Bush years, though as noted in the AP article the Bush years gave rise to considerably more ring-spun backlash – both in volume and proportion –  than the current Administration has generated.  What is similar, though, is that We the People’s initial foray into Bush merchandise was of the generalized pro-Bush/anti-Bush flavor, which then evolved to more specific grievances or support.

What this means for us: with T-shirts serving as an American cultural barometer, the merchandise is getting more individualized, more timely and more headline-driven.  Stay tuned.

  1. I am always amazed what sells and what doesn’t… sometimes you spend hours thinking up a clever design… it doesn’t sell worth a darn… on the other hand… un-original designs related to “Obama Sucks” is a classic that seems to keep selling… Before the election… actually in mid 2007… I came up with the design… “The Only Difference Between Obama and Osama is BS”… I’m not even sure what that means… but lots of people bought it (and copied it)… just goes to show you!

  2. Pingback: Alito trumps Obama on the T-shirt trail

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