Rebranding Abraham Lincoln

June 02, 2012

Stoic. Cool under pressure. Honest. This is the Abe we’ve come to know. Now, attempts to rejuvenate the 16th president have been made before. But author Seth Grahame-Smith had the muskets to play extreme revisionist to one of the most iconic brands in American history, turning the Rail Splitter into a Vampire Hunter. No, this isn’t your father’s Lincoln. And, yes, it looks like it actually works. The rebranding is — ahem — reverential of the facts we know right down to that whole Civil War thing, and it explains them in ways supportive of the new Lincoln that are plausible within the confines of historical horror. An easy metaphoric leap from slavery to vampirism doesn’t hurt either. Of course, the movie has yet to be released (in theaters June 22) and more than a few of us have shuddered at the thought of the future book iPad reports that will be submitted by grade schoolers across the country. The novel has been decried for creating and praised for delivering on this ridiculous premise. But there is no denying that a spark has been lit between the Hollywood backing of the movie (Tim Burton is the producer) and the micro-explosion of this mashup genre. So if you think your brand is what it is and can’t possibly surprise and entertain in new ways, think about how a 19th Century president is becoming a 21st Century superstar. And put a new stake in the ground.