Brands try to tap into Obama celebration

LONDON - The US public's enthusiasm for Barack Obama's inauguration as US president next Tuesday has attracted several brands, including Pepsi and Ikea, to run special campaigns.

Previous inaugurations have been largely ignored by viewers and networks alike. However on Tuesday many channels will be running all-day coverage around the event.

As a result brands' marketing efforts could approach those seen around February’s big event for US advertisers, the Super Bowl.

As Obama decided against bringing in corporate sponsors to help pay the costs of mounting the occasion, brands are making up their own strategy around the ceremony.

Planned activity

  • This Friday Pepsi brand ambassadors will be roaming the streets of Washington handing out samples and branded badges and scarves bearing various "Obamaisms" like "hope" and "change".
  • Ikea has installed its own version of the Oval Office inside Washington's Grand Union Station. The installation matches the look of the room but uses Ikea furniture.
  • Quaker Oats is supplying oatmeal to 11 bloggers' parties to promote a campaign to feed 1m low income families.
  • Dunkin' Donuts has launched a limited edition "Stars and Stripes" donut for the week of the inauguration.
  • Shopping TV network QVC is broadcasting during an inauguration ball hosted by actors' political group the Creative Coalition. This event is also sponsored by Pepsi. QVC will also sell memorabilia including Obama and Martin Luther King commemorative coins ($20) and a "Presidential" pocket watch ($90).