Associate Press photo of Shepard Fairey and his “Barack Obama” artpiece

In a follow-up to last week’s story. “Street Artist Shepard Fairey’s Iconic Image of President-Elect Barack Obama Graces the Cover of Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year,” on Saturday, January 17, Shepard’s “Barack Obama” artwork was inducted into the Smithsonian Institution. During a week of great celebration of the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, it’s important to note how cultural grassroots movements via street art have finally made its mark.

The concept has been coined “inauguration marketing” by some in the advertising industry and is starting to be used, for example, by many brands such as Pepsi’s POP campaign incorporating colors red, white, and blue, with messages of hope in large type-face fonts. However it still comes down to authenticity, as I stated in last week’s storyon Shepard’s Time Magazine cover. Authenticity that’s not motivated by profits but by change. This is the new era of today’s generation.

However countless stories have recently been released by advertising industry sources about how “surprising” it was that the Obama campaign went after the ephemeral market of new voters or young people. As though that was an outrageous concept because it had never been done before. It’s exactly that kind of thinking that is part of the problem many large brands continue to have today. Thinking that the youth market or new markets (untested entities) are mercurial and all too difficult to understand, say nothing about actually looking at them towards understanding the future.

Fortunately, we have a forward-thinking President now and the recognition of one of our street artist peers in one of the most prestigious galleries in the world. And if the ad industry needs to “coin” a concept to grasp it’s potential, then so be it. Inauguration marketing may just be the best thing to come along to get certain industries to start thinking differently.