Obama's ambitious makeover of capitalism was the assignment from New York Times AD Aviva Michaelov for last week's Week In Review cover. The writer discussed Obama's model of a newer and more sustainable capitalism based on lower consumption and higher innovation in new green technologies as well as a sense of the individual responsibility. One of the major concerns from both sides of the isle is that changes made should be more than mere cosmetic fixes. The idea for this came from a couple sources.
My wife is addicted to HGTV programs that transform peoples homes. The other day we were watching a show where the hosts force home owners to get rid of their clutter and accumulated crap in order to start a new life. They never seem to address why folks accumulate these mountains of stuff in the first place and I always end up skeptical that the underlying issues are deeper than a new coat of paint.
Sequence still from, Green Song, video by Pepper Melon
I also stumbled across this fantastic video for MTV's SWITCH campaign by Pepper Melon entitled "GreenSong". I loved the idea of calling-out our culture for being so superficial about the environment - treating global decline like another marketing opportunity. Brilliant video, see it here.
I've always enjoyed working with Aviva. She's one of those few great AD's who really draw the difficult work out of you. In this case we really wrestled with the desire to show Obama's efforts at reigning-in out-of-control capitalism without making him look anti-capitalism. Neither of us wanted to create an image that might inflame passions rather than open minds so we went through a lot of back and forth. A number of sketches were accurate, but just too aggressive. I've included a couple below.
Muzzling and gastric bypass for gluttonous American Capitalism
Capitalism on a leash, and personal restraint/responsibility as key to healthy capitalism
In the end we settled on the version at the top of the post, which although less blunt, we felt was an intriguing visual that communicates a need and challenge - America's capitalism needs a makeover but it needs to be more than just a new coat of paint. There's also a version, that we did just to see it played-out, with the paint all-green, but the editors preferred the flag colored version.
This was just something we tried to for curiosity sake. I almost like it more.