George W. Bush, advertising star

For international advertisers, George Bush has been a sure sell.


Tagline: The world needs a tape like this.

It’s a basic fact of advertising: Mainstream ads do not go against the grain. To reach the largest possible amount of consumers, advertisers need to create messages that are instantly recognizable and pleasing to the majority.
So what does that say about the flood of ads from around the world that make fun of President George W. Bush? While American advertising has mostly left him alone, his name and image have been used in global advertising more than those of all other U.S. presidents put together.
It’s interesting to see what these advertisers think about how people perceive President Bush. He is consistently mocked for his lack of intelligence, and shown in the company of Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, Robert Mugabe, and Kim Jung-Il. When Amnesty International or other liberal organizations create this kind of advertising, it’s not very surprising. But when big international corporations like Daimler-Chrysler (below), Lipton Tea, or Scrabble start doing the same, it can only mean one thing: In this administration’s final days, Bush-bashing has hit the big time.


Go here for individual ads.

Credits for Tesa tape campaign (above):
Advertising Agency: Heads Propaganda, Curitiba, Brazil
Creative Director: Kike Borell
Art Director: Paulo de Almeida
Copywriters: Gustavo Frare, Isis Ribeiro
Photographer: Nuno Papp

Client: Tesa


Credits for Dreamland mattresses (above)
Advertising Agency: Publicis, South Africa
Art Director: Kamlesh Jogee
Copywriter: Lauren Pybus, Des Williams
Creative Director: Kamlesh Jogee
Exc. Creative Director: Kady Winetzki
Client: SK Bedding and mattresses


Tagline: “Still looking for weapons of mass destruction. Not smart.”

Credits for Smart Cars (above):
Advertising Agency: Crush, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Creative Director: Kenneth Lim
Art Directors: Adrian Tan/Danny Thong
Copywriter: Kenneth Lim
Photography: Corbis
Published: June 2007
Client: Daimler Chrysler

All mages are from the collection of Mirko Ilic.

Read our previous Evolution columns,  One Leg Leads to Another and Beauty and Beast.

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About Mirko Ilic

Mirko Ilic is a New York-based graphic designer and illustrator. He co-authored The Design of Dissent, with Milton Glaser, and The Anatomy of Design and Icons of Graphic Design, with Steven Heller. He teaches illustration at the School of Visual Arts.