Delhi, like the world, is Obamastruck. As the countdown begins for Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration in a fortnight, the man who, according to his wife, still wears the clothes he had when they married, has triggered something of a buyers’ frenzy. Obama-themed goods are steadily coming into city markets and pop-art has embraced him, too.
Internationally, Obama merchandise is a big, big trend. Everyone is cashing in on a piece of history — traders are asking for $300 for a copy of the New York Times announcing the Democratic triumph on November 5; there are Obama T-shirts, playing cards, pin badges, plaques, posters and paper dolls; the ‘Yes We Can’ Obama slogan has led a porn peddler to put a $10,000 price tag on the www.sexwecan.com domain name; and the new President-elect’s books, The Audacity of Hope and Dreams From My Father, are topping bestseller lists. Bosnia’s oldest clothing company, Borac, is selling Obama suits in the country and neighbouring Croatia. Even in the dirt-poor African state of Sierra Leone, traders are hawking Obama tees and pirated videos of his victory speech. In Japan, comedian Nozomu Sato (Nocchi) is impersonating Obama on TV.
The icing on the cake, perhaps, is a computer game, titled Commander-in-Chief, that will allow ‘player presidents’ to attempt running the country better than Obama can. The players will make budget, military and other decisions in simulated environments and have to virtually live with their choices. The game will be out on January 20.
Sarojini Nagar Market has some Obama gear in place. Abhishek Sehrawat, a 22-year-old infotech employee based in Bangalore, is thrilled with a ‘Black is back’ T-shirt his friend got him from SN Market. “It looks explosive!” says the Obama convert. Showpiece bottles with the new President’s photos inside are being hawked by vendors.
Designer Tanu Bagai, who owns DIR 69 at Hauz Khas Village, customises bags and other accessories with the Obama motif. “It helps people make a classic statement,” says Bagai.
Megha, a media professional, got an uncle in the US to bring her a pop-art Obama T-shirt. Anukriti Sharma, 18, asked her brother, a student in California, to get her Obama goodies.
Looks like the new US Prez alone will bring liquidity back into the market.