Tuesday, June 3, 2008

United Way, Heineken and Barack Obama - Zeitgeist Continued

United Way of America is launching a new national marketing campaign called "Live United". The focus of the message is when we reach out a hand to one, we influence the condition of all. Because, "we all win when a child succeeds in school, when a family becomes financially stable, when people have good health."

It is a message focused on interconnectedness. According to the marketing gurus at United Way of America, the message taps into the country's current desire for a movement, especially a movement which includes everyone through transcending race, age, ethnicity and gender.

I think it is a very powerful message. It tugs at the best of who we are as Americans and as global citizens...when we reach out a hand to one, we influence the condition of all...there is power in that message, it's inclusive, it says, "We all can change the world, we can all make it a better place."

Pretty cool stuff...

Here is the 30-second ad:

Transitioning slightly, I have been watching the Stanley Cup Finals this year - Detroit Red Wings vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, great series, last night went into triple OT! Anyway, one of the advertisements I have seen several times is this Heineken beer commercial called "Share the Good".

I love the commercial because it is all about interconnectedness and, really, reaching out and doing something good for someone else, giving something to make a brighter day for a complete stranger. Albeit, the something is a beer. But still, I think the message is very sweet.

As with Live United, the Heineken commercial is about transcendence, not just racially, ethnically, etc, but even geographically. I see the underlying message of the commercial as, "we are all the same, across the globe. We just want to be happy and have a beer!" Who can't relate to that!

Every time I see the commercial I smile and I think, "ahh, if only international relations really were this easy!" Here's the spot (I love the bearded nordic guy's big belly laugh!):

And then, I think, maybe international relations just are that easy! In fact, I have long thought the rhetoric that seeks to divide our world into us vs. them is simple-minded thinking which plays on our most fearful stereotypes.

I have always had a strong belief that humans across the globe are much more alike than different and international relations would be much better served if we talked with our adversaries, even the most dreadful.

And it looks like a lot of Americans agree with me. A recent Gallup survey found, "Large majorities of Democrats and independents, and even about half of Republicans, believe the president of the United States should meet with the leaders of countries that are considered enemies of the United States. Overall, 67% of Americans say this kind of diplomacy is a good idea."

Could it be that Obama's idea to talk to our enemies, instead of continual isolation and even preemptive, foolish military intervention, could be playing into Americans' desire to unite and transcend? Could it be Obama's candidacy itself is fueled by this nascent American zeitgeist of global human connectedness focused on lifting everyone's fortunes across the world?

When we reach out a hand to one, we influence the condition of all...

We have tried eight years of war, eight years of isolationism and saber rattling and "if you aren't with us, you are against us." I believe Obama offers a new way, a chance for Americans to lead the efforts of global connection and an opportunity for Americans to help improve human conditions for everyone, at home and abroad.

A new American zeitgeist? Only time will tell.

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