Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Obama, Abercrombie and the Social Web

My how even the smallest blunders get noticed. Obama's advance team missed a small little nuance this evening, but the social web was watching. The three most visible people directly behind Obama were all wearing Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirts. A&F couldn't have paid for better placement.

During the latter part of the Clinton administration, I traveled the country doing advance, essentially event management. The primary focus of advance (other than a happy president) is a good picture (tertiary was a happy press corps). Much of the effort and discussion leading up to an event surrounds the image that cameras will capture.

During Obama's speech this evening, a traditional "crowd" backdrop was used - fill the area behind the speaker with enthusiastic supporters. Great care is often taken in selecting those folks. You have to be sure the right mix of folks is represented. You have to make sure no one is sleepy or yawning. And you even have to pay attention to their clothes, to make sure the colors work. Obama's advance team missed the A&F logos...

Prior to this election cycle, such a gaffe would barely have been noticed. A few political pundits may make a remark or two, but barring any other direction to the story, such an error would be a non-issue. Not this cycle...

As this search of Tweetscan shows, many folks are talking about it. This guy took a screenshot and posted it on Facebook. Patrick Ruffini sent out a tweet. I Twittered about it as well. Even though I mispelled Abercrombie, I was part of the cacophony. Rather than sulking away, this gaffe reverberated throughout the social web, going far beyond the few picky folks like me that notice such things.

What does this mean? In this instance, probably not much, other than a nice brand hit for A&F and further visual support to reiterate the idea that Obama = young college supporters. But it is yet another example of how the communications dynamic is changing...

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

What's interesting is that while A/F has generated some buzz, most of it seems to be negative, since the effort seemed to be so obvious.

Transparency AND authenticity count!