Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 25, 2008 12:44PM

Joe Gets a Logo

Rate: 21 Flag


As of this morning, Joe the Plumber is a brand as well as a household name. The McCain-Palin campaign has sent the word via email to supporters and undecideds that they will be accepting 30-second video ads from all the disgruntled Joe Plumbers out there through Friday the 24th at 5 p.m.The prize will be a featured spot in a McCain TV ad.


Picture 9


It seems that since McCain has not been nearly as successful as Obama at commodifying his own brand, he is now taking the tack of commodifying his supporters. He may well be on to something. The only thing Americans love more than buying stuff is selling themselves, seems to be McCain's way of thinking, and he has years of American Idol and YouTube to back him up. 

His call to the masses to don the Joe mantle plumbs (sorry) new depths in his particular brand of cynical populism. By fetishizing working class signifiers ("Joe," generic t-shirt style retro graphics, the appeal to self-projecting couch potatoes), McCain is continuing his galling disingenuousness, stringing along and bribing Main Street to vote back in a structure that will benefit the Wall Streeters and the gated-in denizens of Vista Drive at Main Street's expense.

It will be interesting, in any case, to see the outcome. But this may be too little too late as McCain's major foray into Internet interactivity; the whole enterprise has the stodgy reek of the old "Can you draw?" ads printed in the back of comic books:

joe_seeyourad2  ad_for_mail_order_art_course


At least let's hope this doesn't usher in a national shaved-head craze. The Palin look-alikes are crowding YouTube as it is.

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
great post, and you're right about the shaved heads. No style is worse than the "White Michael Jordan" in my book.
While I personally dig the shaved-head look, coming from a tool of the Far Right, it kinda says, "skinhead."
So, basically McCain is sliding down the vertical surface of the campaign cliff and THIS is all he can dig his fingers into. hmm....
That is fascinating. It will be interesting to see what is produced. Will it be possible to see all of them or just those judged as best?
This is just crazy. Sarah Palin was in Colorado Springs this morning (talk about preaching to the choir) espousing the virtues of Joe the Plumber. Apparently she has not reading any of the newspapers she reads but cannot name.
Well not only does it "plumbs... new depths in....cynical populism" but completely denies that not ALL of us are average JOES some of us are Josephines, Joans, whatever name the feminine is for Jo!

I LOVED the pun by the way!
Are you kidding me? The McCain/Palin camp is now capitalizing on someone who isn't even who he says he is? This just keeps going from bad to worse! It would be funny if it wasn't so desperate and tragic on their part.
It's good to see the "slide" of the McCain campaign continue. They really underestimate the dulling effect of this ploy. Palin has to have some image to meditate on as she discharges her overly heated air.
Great post Marco!!
*checks own head, still has a little hair left*

Um....no comment on the "shaved head craze".


I have a three-syllable word that most aptly describes, I think, the McCain campaign strategy:


Party on, people. Rated/appreciated.
Edgar, Thomas, and er, Bill?: it's amazing how clothes, or politics make the chromedome. Context can make skin hip, earthy or scary.

Mary, Lisa: it occurs to me that this is actually a casting call for the original Joe's replacement, since he's outlived his usefulness. The McCain campaign has essentially created a stock character, a mascot, as we call them in the branding world, to embody the message, kind of like the Aflac duck or the Geico Cavemen. And every once in a while you have to refresh the mascot. So ultimately the particulars of the next Joe or Jo won't matter. It's all about the slogan and the character, not reality. What's scary is that they have already tested this principle with their Veep candidate.
Dorinda: I'll bet they'll use as many as they deem necessary as the campaign hits fever pitch in the next few weeks.

artsfish, JRDOG, Gary, Bill: somehow I can never bring myself to underestimate the impact of McCain's gambits. They are all hail mary passes to an extent, but there are wild and wooly sectors in America, and so far the results of their experiments have been hair-raising to say the least.
Joe: I dunno. I think you may be out. Unless you're Joe 2.0
No, I'm Joe 1.0. Wait, let me check...Yeah, Joe 1.0 here.

By the way, I don't understand that crack about the art school ads. I picked up my certificate there when I dabbled in cartooning before I explored water management.
Joe the Plumber brings to mind the Woody Harrelson character in "Wag the Dog." He's the guy the president's handlers dig up to play "Old Shoe," a make-believe POW in a phony war with Albania (staged to deflect attention from a White House sex scandal). Woody turns out to be a crazed sociopath, with hilarious results. Essential pre-election viewing, in case you've missed it.
Many of the comments are really funny but at the same time as liberals we can't get in the trap of smugness. Joe is a signifier for many people, both male and female in the conservative camp. Remember, Palin identifies with Joe-six-pack and even said she's glad someone like Joe-six-pack finally has a chance to be represented in the White House. And why wouldn't a blue-collar person identify with Joe when so many liberals smugly laugh at people like him. The fact is that Joe didn't listen to Obama's answer and because of the culture wars, people are talking past one another. I think it would be neat to submit an ad that actually has a real plumber named Joe and his wife talking about why they are for Obama/Biden. And post the ad to YouTube so that it gets played regardless of the McCain campaign contest. Blue-collar workers need to see others like them supporting Obama and explain the tax thing in simple, from the heart terms.
"The only thing Americans love more than buying stuff is selling themselves...his galling disingenuousness..." says it all.

I think that part of America-the large part that is hurting, likes to see politicians bow down and kiss their feet. Somehow - they were groomed for this - it validates their toil for the machine that now fakes its loyalty to the population that ensures its survival.
By the way, with John's new foray into neo-McCarthyism - his firing up the mob with chants of 'socialism,' lucky Joe the "Plumber," now joins the ranks of "John the Jackass," and "Bay the Buffoon," alongside "Sarah the Suckup."

Mere pawns, aspiring to positions of and desperately grasping for power within the far right's despicable bid for power. John has been a tool for some time - like Lou Dobbs - but he now has lowered himself in order to help retain the power his overlords clearly never deserved. Say it ain't so, John!?

Carl Rove and his ilk, have highjacked McCain's maverick-ness (see You Me and Dupree). Going along with this strategy has, I think, cost John McCain his legacy - at least for those who are paying attenting. Wolverine is too good for John - I like Wolverine. I used to just not like John so much, and dismissed him as an irritating, rambunctious school girl, pining for attention and a lollypop every time he did something right, just because he was in the wrong party like me.

Then I decided to separate the fact from the fiction he was peddling. What was more important, I used to respect him. Now everything I respected him for... has lost its significance; I don't trust him. John is a nutrea, or even a weasel. More than a war-mongering, hate-inspiring jackass, I want and need my President to be principled and STAND for something.
As recent 'errors' in judgement (aka choices) have shown, how can I think that can I trust John McCain NOT to fall for anything, as long as it's convenient?
I totally 'get' Joe's complaint. Paying an extra $257 in taxes on an income of a mere $280,000.00 per year is deplorable. Deplorable!

Putting Joe the Plumber in the spotlight is just another indication of how out of touch (with reality) the McCain campaign is. Do they not know the average income in the USA?
I saw the piece of 'Joe' talking with Sen. Obama & I couldn't get over how much time Sen. Obama took explaining his plan to him. He was so patient. I felt badly when I found out the guy out & out lied to Sen. Obama about everything. His name isn't even Joe -- it's Sam. Sam the Sham... a perfect fit for the McCain-Palin campaign.

Obama-Biden '08! Yes We Can & Yes We Will!! Vote early, if you can. Make history!!
Didn't the Boxer profile ("If you can draw this...) in the matchbooks outlast the broad in the comic books?
Madison Ave. has made us just too darn sofisticacted.