Pop Goes Washington

The new President embodies a changing culture. But can he change the culture's tone too?

Nathan Bilow / AP

Teachers and approximately 500 elementary, middle and high-school students form the Crested Butte Community School, in Crested Butte, Colorado gather to watch the broadcast of the presidential inauguration.

How do you know when a President is a pop-culture fixture? When he becomes a can of soda. During the coverage of Barack Obama's swearing-in, Pepsi showed off a new advertising campaign that audaciously hopes to benefit from his buzz. Brandishing graphics similar to Obama's change ads and a new logo not unlike his red-white-and-blue O, the spots declared, "Yes you can"--get it? can?--and announced, "Every generation refreshes the world."

Joining Pepsi's quest for O-mentum are advertisers like Audi ("Progress is beautiful") and Ikea ("Embrace change"). Trying to make a buck off the zeitgeist is an old story, but these ads...

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