JaVaris Herndon
ENC 1102
4 October 2011
Hooked on Hope
Who would have thought a simple image would become so influential? The Obama ?Hope? advertisement was mass produced, spread across America, and eventually the rest of the world. Graphic artist, Shepard Fairey, was the mind behind the simple yet brilliant work of art. Fairey has excelled for nearly two decades in the world of street art, which has gained him major underground success. His first major claim to fame was his artwork of wresting star Andre the Giant as an assignment at Rhode Island School of Design. Today, Fairey runs a successful marketing and design company, Obey Giant, producing images for big companies, celebrities, and clothing (Schumann). In 2008, Fairey gained a new level of attention with his iconic ?Hope? image of Barack Obama. Fairey created the image to simply show his support for the presidential candidate, and in turn influenced the nation. The Obama ?Hope? advertisement gave the American people back something that the majority had lost, and that is hope through effective usage of rhetorical appeals.
The Obama ?Hope? advertisement is iconic because of its simplicity and boldness. Fairey?s red, white, and blue image evokes nationalist pride, while the word ?Hope? offers peace of mind to millions of weary people. A confident Obama is shown staring out into space with a calm demeanor. The advertisement greatly appeals to its viewers through pathos. The mixture and shaping of the different colors represent American ideals. The mixture of colors represents the mixture of great people of this nation; a nation that has been resilient for centuries. The mixture of colors represents Obama being of biracial descent. The mixture of colors of this advertisement represents the coming and working together of different groups in America. The success of the Obama ?Hope? advertisement can be attributed to its heavy appeal to pathos but also to its appeal to kairos. The image was produced at the perfect time; relevant to the 2008 elections and the emotional state of the nation at the time.
In 2008, America was enduring the beginning of what some call ?The Great Recession.? The housing, credit, and financial markets plagued the U.S. economy. Unemployment rose from 4.8 to 6.9 percent affecting 10.6 million people in America (Borbely). At a time of economic turmoil, the ?Hope? advertisement helped many people to look to the future for better days to come. The image appeals to ethos with usage of the confident Obama. Obama established himself early on as a very confident, effective speaker. He spoke to the hearts of supporters with understanding and plans for major changes. Obama was hopeful and encouraged others to be hopeful as well.
I know these are difficult times. I know folks are worried. But I also know this - we can steer ourselves out of this crisis. Because we are the United States of America. We are the country that has faced down war and depression; great challenges and great threats. And at each and every moment, we have risen to meet these challenges - not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as Americans. (Obama)
The usage of the word ?Hope? and the image of Obama looking out to the future effectively represent Obama?s 2008 presidential campaign. The image was a positive factor for Obama?s campaign, and a positive message to all Americans.
The ?Hope? advertisement had the right colors, the right image, and the right message during the time it was produced. Through effective use of rhetorical appeals, the Obama ?Hope? advertisement gave the American people hope for the future. The image graphic artist Shepard Fairey created became one of the most highly visible images of Obama?s presidential campaign; speaking to the hearts of Americans and people worldwide. The Obama ?Hope? advertisement impels the nation to dare to dream, dare to act, and most importantly to keep hope alive.

Works Cited
Borbely, James. "Economy in Recession." U.S. Labor Market in 2008 Mar 2009. n. pag. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Web. 1 Oct 2011.
Obama, Barack. "The Economic Crisis and the Middle Class." 2008 Presidential Campaign. Toledo, OH. 13 Oct 2008. In Person. <>.
Schumann, Heidi. "Shepard Fairey."New York Times. 12 Mar 2009: n. page. Web. 2 Oct. 2011.