Even considering that Team Obama raked in close to a billion dollars total for their 2012 campaign, $40 million for their celebrity designed-and-promoted line of supercool campaign merchandise is still not a completely insignificant haul, especially considering the glamorous attention that went with it. Via TIME:
The president’s fourth-largest bundler, [Vogue editor in chief Anna] Wintour gave Obama a powerful financial boost in his re-election campaign, hosting several fundraising dinners (a Paris Fashion Week event cost $10,000 per ticket) and roping in high-profile designers to contribute to Runway to Win, a collection of fashionable campaign clothing and accessories sold through the Obama 2012 store. Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch and Dian von Furstenberg were just some of the big names who designed tees, totes and other paraphernalia for Obama’s re-election campaign, and the Runway to Win effort ultimately raised over $40 million, campaign manager Jim Messina told Bloomberg Businessweek.
The Obama campaign got a whole swath of ultra-hip celebs involved in designing and promoting this thing, from Beyoncé to Ricky Martin to Scarlett Johansson, not to mention the various ads they had comedians and actors and hipster-stars like Lena Dunham do for the campaign. Apparently, it worked out pretty well for them — it was at least a not-inconsiderable part of a winning strategy, and definitely helped to up the campaign’s cool factor and enthusiasm among the youths.
I mention this because, moving ‘forward’ (ugh), one of the many crucial factors the GOP will need to consider is the importance of the youth vote and the culture war. We’ve all but ceded the entertainment industry to the left, and while many conservatives’ first instinct is to groan and scoff at high-profile celebrities’ political endorsements (this conservative included), the fact is that there are a lot of people (especially young people) who pay attention to that kind of thing. I’m not saying we have to replicate their exact methods and nor do I have an exact solution, but the Obama campaign went to a lot of trouble in both 2008 and 2012 to appeal to young people and make them feel included. The GOP, on the other hand, didn’t really do much youth-specific outreach at all — and it could’ve been a game-changer.