How Obama Changed the Face of Campaign Marketing

January 21, 2009 at 2:48 pm | Posted in Campaigns | 3 Comments
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In honor of yesterday’s presidential inauguration, I wanted to take some time to look at the 2008 Presidential campaign. Let’s put aside the issues and political parties, let’s leave Sarah Palin’s perfectly-styled hair alone… let’s talk about the marketing efforts of the Obama camp.

Pioneer of Emerging Media

Rhinestone Obama: Pioneer of Emerging Media

Obama has changed the way presidential campaigns are run. He has connected with the American public in a way not seen (or heard of) since FDR started his fireside chats. But how did he do it?

New Tools to Reach a New Generation

Obama used the iPhone to reach his audience by creating an application which announced news about the campaign and local events. Users could also text their friends through the app to spread Obama's message.

Obama used the iPhone to reach his audience by creating an application which announced news about the campaign and local events. Users could also text their friends through the app to spread Obama's message.

Never before has a presidential candidate texted voters; I’m pretty sure John Kerry didn’t have a Facebook page; and I’m positive that Al Gore was not updating his status on Twitter. But Barack Obama used these tools to his advantage. He understood that the youth vote was becoming ever-important, and the best way to reach this demographic was through emerging media tools. Besides his normal campaigning activities (speeches, television commercials, debates, etc.), Obama integrated the following marketing tools into his campaign:

Obama’s team understands the importance of information, and they understand how quickly this generation expects to receive information. In the age of technology, voters do not want to wait for the daily paper to arrive the following morning to know who was chosen as the candidates’ running mates. Voters don’t even want to wait for the 10 o’clock news. They want the information quickly, and they want it where they can easily access it- online, and on their phones. Obama used this to his advantage when he announced the addition of Joe Biden to the ticket by text message.

Change We Need

As many of you will recall, the 2004 election was gory. Tons of negative ads, limitless finger pointing, false reports

Americans left the door open for Obama's new marketing efforts.

Americans left the door open for Obama's new marketing efforts.

how depressing. With everything else that was going on in 2008, I don’t think Americans wanted a repeat performance. While John McCain continued to use television ads as his main marketing avenue, Obama saw the need (and desire) for change. The overwhelming desire of the American people for something new coupled with all of this new technology opened the door for whoever wanted to step through. Obama took that step, putting him leaps and bounds ahead of McCain as far as marketing is concerned.

It is clear that Obama has completely changed the way presidential campaigns will be handled in the future. Not only will candidates pay closer attention to the youth vote; they will pay close attention to the emerging tools through which they can comminicate to their audience.

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3 Comments »

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  1. Great layout and choice of words. Once again you have taught me more about the issue then i knew. Being an Obama fan for other reasons, i didn’t know the extent of his campaign. I agree that his team took a less traveled route and it definitely made an impact (obvi)

    It is a huge positive that he is reaching out to the younger generations and being up-to-date with technology.

  2. Great blog post!

    I gotta say it, I love me some Obama. I think everything he did to attract voters, especially the young voters, was so great and obviously effective. I feel that his camp did everything the Rock the Vote campaign has yet to do. You can’t just say “Voting is cool,” or “Vote or Die” (I’m looking at you, P-Diddy…), you have to actually do something and make it so. That’s what Obama and his camp did. They reached out in the only way some young voters know how and they connected.

    I can’t even imagine what candidates will start doing in the future!

  3. This is really good stuff Kerri. Obama as an individual, as our first African-American president represents substantial change. But his weilding of new media as a means to campaign to individuals where they really are is really amazing. This is indeed the wave of the future for all candidates.


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