Neal Freeland

Engineering/marketing manager, family guy. My personal blog with a few work thoughts mixed in.

Marketing Obama

with one comment

Much has been written about how well Obama’s campaign has used the internet to connect with voters and raise money ($150 m in September alone). In my view the most impressive thing is not just the success of these tactics, but also the sustainability of the core strategy to market Obama as a candidate for change. Politics is very much a marketing craft, where the product is the candidate. Just as marketers conduct extensive research to figure out how to promote a product and generate revenue, candidates do the same to determine which message appeals to enough voters to win an election.

The brilliance of Obama and his advisors is that two years ago they decided to bet their campaign on the message of change. They realized that people were disenchanted not only with Republicans, but with politics overall, and very much wanted to renew the country. Obama’s personal story, his oratorical style, and his ethnic background allowed him to authentically embrace this message. Moreover, it withstood a bruising primary battle with Hillary Clinton and the general campaign with McCain. Both of Obama’s opponents started by emphasizing their experience, but realized too late that this message was not capturing the mood of the country (didn’t Bush/Cheney promise experience, and where had that led the country?). They therefore tacked away from experience and attempted to embrace a similar message of change, without being able to do so as authentically: both had an albatross around their neck (Bill for Hillary and Bush for McCain). It was painful to watch them struggle in their poor marketing positions, trying desperately to escape through stunts (whiskey shots for Hillary, Palin for McCain) that only served to highlight their bad strategies.

Part of my support for Obama is due to my admiration and appreciation for the hard marketing work that went into building his campaign’s strategy. It may look simple and feel natural, but as a marketer believe me that only happens through a lot of effort. Here’s one of my favorite examples of this message in action. I like it even more that it seems to not have been produced by the campaign.

Whassup Obama


And the original Budweiser commercial circa 2000.



Written by nealfreeland

October 27, 2008 at 9:35 pm

Posted in News and politics

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