17.8.09

Portrayal of George W. Bush in international advertisements


16:9 Films, The Terrorist: Quotes, Terrorific

Advertising Agency: Whybin\TBWA Sydney, Australia
Executive Creative Director: Garry Horner
Creative Director: Matt Kemsley
Art Director / Copywriter / Illustrator: Sean Ascroft
Published: July 2009











George W. Bush is undoubtedly one of the most popular figures of current times. He's infamous for many things he misspoke and his views on how to handle national security. His ideology affected not only the United States, but the whole world in a major way. No wonder he's been on top of mind for many creatives and became the hero of numerous advertisements in the last few years.

Here is a collection of some of the most interesting ads that dissect his character in order to sell an idea or a product. You be the judge whether they are successful in achieving this objective.

Let me start the showcase with this ad made for Milenio, a Mexican newspaper who claims they solved the inner workings of Bush's personality. Simpson + Texas cowboy = GWB. The tagline reads: "Such a complex world needs a good explanation."

In this highly diplomatic ad (what else would you expect from Britain) Marmite Squeezy claims Bush's just like the funny tasting sirup: "You either love it or hate it."

Non-profit groups use Bush as the topic of their campaign regularly. Here Greenpeace China brings up controvercial issues and claims: "Everyone's entitled to an opinion. Voice yours at forum.greenpeace.org"

Tesa an adhesive tape brand thinks Bush should be silenced. The headline of the Brazilian ad says: "The world needs a tape like this." and later quotes Bush: "Are you going to ask that question with shades on? For the viewers there's no sun". — George W. Bush, addressing a blind reporter during a press conference.

Bush has even unknowingly been recruited to sell cars. On a more political tone this poorly art directed smart ad from Malaysia reads: "Still looking for weapons of mass destruction. Not smart." I guess the viewer is supposed to complete the sentence saying, but getting a smart car for myself that uses up little of our precious non-renewable resources is smart.

Amnesty International Spain thinks they are like a fly you can't get rid of. I guess in some cases being associated with an annoying insect is a good thing in some twisted way.

Another AI campaign this time from Malaysia urges you to: "Write to him and help stop torture at Guantanamo Bay." Then makes a snotty remark: "Remember, use simple words". Ouch.

Sport Factory Outlet sells bicycle helmets in Switzerland and promises to prevent and injury to your head, so you can avoid saying silly things. The ad claims: "George W. Buch has fallen off the bicycle more than once.

If you voted for GWB an ad from Hong Kong washes the guilt away when they declare: "Everyone makes mistakes", but with Stabilo Ereasable pen you could've corrected the ballot.

Amnesty International again. This time they suggest that their site powerofyourvoice.org can put words like this into Bush's mouth: "Guantanamo is illegal. We must close it as soon as possible."

In San Francisco the billboards of the movie Lord of War were defaced with Bush's collage picture made from portraits of dead soldiers.

More NGO ads this time from Denmark that directly address the president and state: "It's torture no matter what George Bush calls it."

Lipton from Australia argues their ice tea would allow for surprising mental achievements for the president. He would be able to successfully name all 50 US states without outside help. According to the ad: Bush credits his monumental improvement to a "magic water" from "Chinaland".

TVNZ New Zealand is pretty straightforward about their views on Bush. They advertise the famous movie American Psycho with the head of state on this outdoor board. For those who have not seen it, Bush isn't part of the movie.

But of course you would have to go to Brazil for the strongest critique. On this ad for Rolling Stones magazine they profess: "We don't show naked women to sell more. At the most, we show some asses."

There are of course more mellow ads out there. The Times magazine from the UK advertises their new full color edition (they have to compete with the Internet in some way) with Bush envisioned in a color vision testing chart and asks: "Are your eyes ready for more colourful news?"

Another newspaper called Egoista from Portugal suggests a dove (representing peace) will poo on Bush's shoulder and makes him responsible for recent wars with their tagline: "since 1945 there have been only 26 days of peace in the world." Oh, come on! Bush has only been at war for the last 7-8 years since he became a president.

Another public interest campaign portrays Bush as silly kid who doesn't want to hear a word they say. This ad from Budapest, Hungary was publicizing the Make some noise for human rights concert held on the Danube river in front of the building of the Parliament.

Accroding to magazine Novynar Bush sees the world map in a different way everybody else does. US is in the dead centre of everything. I fail to see what's wrong with this view!

Ad school students are using Bush in their ads frequently. Like in this award winning ad, that I must admit I don't understand. Enlighten me if you do.

The South African History Channel ad reads: "Unfortunately, we do show repeats." playing on the popular saying — history repeats itself.

On a lighter note a paint ball park in Portugal suggests you could be Bush if you feel like playing war games.

This ad from Cape Town for the local newspaper argues if Bush is public enemy No1 by eroding freedom?

If you're all worked up, you should relax with the Spanish Susaron anti-stress tea. Strange art direction that manages to give me a headache without even reading the headline: "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction."

This Mexican ad for a dog kennel is ready to accept Bush to their premises: "We don't discriminate any kind of breed." (In Mexico "Dog" means lowlife)

The Arno blender can do funny things. Like mixing up old Bush with the lead character of Mad Magazine to create GWB. Don't you need to involve a female somewhere in the process?

Dreamland bedding also promises to cure angry souls disturbed by the oil wars: "Who says there's no rest for the Wicked? Dreamland — The sleep through the night mattress."

Even the BBC World news channel took up the subject of having two sides of each story to popularize themselves in the USA. On one side we see a scared muslim family and on the other a confident US president on TV.

In case of Diario a Brazilian newspaper the ad suggested that there are more to reality than meets the eye. A pleasant meeting between Blair and Bush is just the tip of the ice-berg. Beneath we find war, oil, suffering, money and torture.

A Romanian sticker company IPPU claims they can create realistic looking compositions that could never have occurred, like a meeting between GWB and Fidel Castro.

And in Chile in Scrabble terms Fidel Castro equals George Bush. Each worth 17 points in the game.

On this Vodka campaign from New York Bush's life is distilled into a few cliparts.

This ad belongs to the WTF chategory. The project never actually materialized.

In Germany a compact size newspaper created the toddler version of Bush. He was a cute kid.

Finally two TV spots. The first one shows GWB in an unfavorable way acting like an animal. In the second one South China Morning Post showcases how the paper helps Bush with his speech at an important moment.


7 New Skills for a Post-Pandemic Marketer

The impact of Covid-19 has had a significant impact across the board with the marketing and advertising industry in 2020, but there is hope...