I'm still unsure.
"Make a donation of $15 or more by midnight on June 30th," the email urges "and receive a special edition Obama logo car magnet."
That's right--a car magnet. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of the big square pizza delivery side panel car magnets, almost as much as those sported by exterminators. But, I have to admit, I'd never conceived of one for a politician.
It's an interesting idea. Certainly, it's more . . . sophisticated . . . than a bumper sticker, which despite an improvement in document design, is still the cultural equivalent of the beer cozy. But magnets, well, magnets feel more substantial. Less tacky. We tend to associate professionalism with car magnets. Bumper stickers on the other hand connote self-importance, preachiness, and bannerism. In general, if you see a car magnet, you pretty much only see that magnet, whereas bumper stickers are a bit like jello shots--they come in clusters.
But, wouldn't someone steal that Obama magnet? Either a pro or anti Obaman? How easy to imagine a great Obama car magnet thief, peeling the magnet off in the parking lot of Whole Foods, Target, and soccer practice so that he can cover his refrigerator with them.
But what about the magnet itself?
The Obama folks were smart enough not to produce an image solely of the magnet, lest they open themselves up to ridicule. Instead, we get a rendering of it packaged within the semiotic rhetoric of donation.
As for the magnet's semiotics, there are no surprises. It's pretty much the standard Obama logo, replete with the flag road and blue oval sky, only with its O-ness reinforced. Totally fine. Entirely acceptable, if a tad, vanilla.
But, really, couldn't they have dolled up the magnet a little, bumper-stickered it a tad here and there. Maybe give it a slogan, something like:
BARACK WOULD RATHER BE WALKING
MY OTHER CANDIDATE DRIVES A HUMMER
I'M DRAWN TO OBAMA
THAT OBAMA--HE'S MAGNETIC
BARACK IS MY CO-PILOT
DRIVING OBAMA ALL THE WAY TO THE WHITE HOUSE!
Humor aside, amidst all of the back-and-forth about gas prices, alternative fuels, public transportation, and the concern surrounding our over-carred culture, the car magnet seems an odd choice. Why not a pair of those walking shoes, a baseball hat, a t-shirt made of organic cotton?
Either way, if you decide that magnet is worth fifteen of your bones, you can get one here: http://donate.barackobama.com/logomagnet