When you think "propaganda" you immediately picture a huge statue of a dictator, or banners stamped with corny slogans. You think of the kind of clumsy brainwashing that only works on uneducated peasants.
But then there are acts of propaganda that have changed the world, usually because you didn't know they were propaganda. If there was a hall of fame for such things, it would include...
It's the face that launched a million t-shirts.
There is a photographer named Alberto Korda, and trust us, you've seen his work. Born in the swinging city of Havana, Cuba, Alberto discovered his true calling in life while using his dad's camera to take pictures of what we can only imagine was one smoking-hot Cuban girlfriend.
Upon realizing that photography offered him infinite times more ass than any of Jack Dawson's stupid drawings, Alberto soon established himself as the premiere fashion photographer of Cuba. "My main aim was to meet women," he later confessed, which makes his eventual marriage to the "drop-dead-gorgeous" Cuban fashion model Natalia "Norka" Menendez all the more awesome.
Alberto Korda, trying to look as unpimp as possible.
On March 5, 1960, Alberto found himself in a rare situation during a memorial service in Havana. Standing in front him was Argentinian revolutionary Che Guevara, with a look of "absolute implacability" on his face. Alberto's photograph of said implacability remains one of the most iconic images of the 20th Century.
The secret to its success: Che's possession of the original "Thriller" jacket.
Why it's Pure Propaganda:
Because Alberto Korda also moonlighted as Fidel Castro's unofficial photographer, and his famous picture of Che Guevara has essentially gone down in history as the Marxist equivalent of the crucifix.
The image is easily duplicated, instantly recognizable and has been lauded as "the most famous photograph in the world" due to its emotional accessibility to anyone who has ever been pissed off at something. And brother, that's a huge freaking market right there.
How ubiquitous is the image these days? Check out The Che Store. That's right. A store that sells nothing but merchandise with Che's head on it.
Viva La Revolucion!