Gingrich's Campaign Branding Is, Literally, WTF

"Win the Future," if you're not into the whole brevity thing. He registered it in '06. Then Obama stole it. Now Gingrich is taking it back. Winning!

Life-long presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich launched his latest candidacy with the slogan: "Win the Future." If that sounds familiar, you probably watched Obama's State of the Union address, where he debuted it to the world—or you saw the recent White House Correspondents Association dinner where Obama relegated it to joke status (start at 2:54 of Obama's own parody video).

What most folks don't realize—and the Atlantic deftly discovered today—is that Newt Gingrich, whose campaign only launched this week, actually registered "American Solutions for Winning the Future" with the IRS under section 527 of the tax code on October 6, 2006. The group has handled his political ops ever since.

The catchphrase failed to catch on with pushes from both politicians. And both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had a field day with it; senior economic advisor to the President, Austan Goolsbee, strained to contain his laughter after Jon Stewart indulged himself with the question, "Is that how we win the future?"

Stephen Colbert devoted a small segment to the doomed slogan back in January, "Yes! We'll win the future. If we just keep pumping quarters into it, this thing's gotta pay off."

But Gingrich, apparently, will give it another go—it was right there on the front of his new presidential website.

He doesn't even mind that Obama bit hijacked his steeze. "We think it's great, Gingrich's campaign spokesman Rick Tyler wrote to the Atlantic. "We intend to have a head on debate of whose policies will actually win the future and whose policies will lose the future."

It's truly a phrase worth fighting for.

There is, after all, a thriving market of American flag-themed "WTF" tote bags and T-shirts; think of all the money he'll save with an army of hard-core religious grandparents marching in the streets branded with the much loved Internet acronym.

Gingrich is out to show the world that he's hip; this week, he launched his presidential bid over at Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, operating under the obvious strategy that word of his campaign bid was best spread through the nation's grandchildren. Those same grandchildren will be more than happy to not-awkwardly tell grandma what her T-shirt actually means.

In all honestly, we're baffled by the branding move—both by Gingrich, first, then Obama, now Gingrich again. WTF, indeed.

Follow Fast Company on Twitter. Also, follow Greg Ferenstein on Twitter.

Add New Comment


  • Tom Swarr

     I agree WTF? is the perfect acronym, not only for Gingrich but for the entire presidential sweepstakes and the unproductive debate in Congress. We need to remind these candidates that after the election they are supposed to be performing a job- not just killing time and posturing for the next campaign.

  • David Syrad

     I'm not American so have no particular political axe to grind, however, it does seem to me to show rather poor judgement to use an acronym that can be so readily interpreted as standing for a phrase denoting lack of interest or concern.

  • hemidude

     It's sad to see Newt embarrass himself, but I guess that is part of the flaw of the true narcissist, they simply cannot see their own idiocy.

    As for those who would cheap shot honest Americans who support Tea Party principles (and as far as I can tell Newt is is no way associated with the Tea Party) using the nasty denigrating sex terms to associate these folks with a sex act shows the shallow and vapid nature of those who are hyper-critical.

    If you have an intelligent thought, share it. This isn't the 3rd grade however, so those with the silly and disgusting knocks on others which they do not know only shows off the bigotry with which they cling to.

  • Scott Byorum

    It is the perfect acronym for his candidacy.  Any clear headed person will look at him and say "WTF?"  Any tea-bagging, Ayn Rand reading idiot will not even get the irony.  It is obvious he isn't a serious candidate.  He's just trying to position himself to renegotiate his contract with FOX news.  And he will be successful... because they don't get it, either. 

  • Andrew Krause

    Gingrich needs to get serious branding help to have a chance. In addition to the baggage he brings to the table, he is pathologically incapable of generating excitement even among people who would otherwise support him. His youtube announcement of his candidacy actually bored me.

  • Jym Allyn

     I stand (sit) corrected.  In honor of George W. Bush's insight of "Fool me once..." I referred to the party members as RepubliCONS.  They are really RupubliCLOWNS.Do Stewart and Colbert really deserve this much easy material?