Advertising the Obama way

by Tony Fannin, president, BE Branded

President Obama is held up as the poster child of how to use new media to market a brand. His team masterfully planned and executed grass roots campaigns, used e-commerce to generate record donations, and even incorporated above-the-line marketing. Most believe it was his use of social media that made his campaign so effective. Let’s breakdown the campaign to really see what the advertising and marketing strategy of Team Obama.

Brand – Some doubt the power of a brand. Obama capitalized on it. His theme of “Yes we can” was the foundation of every tactic of Team Obama. To the general public it became a rally cry. To his team, it was a well crafted brand position that was carried out with the consistency seen from the likes of Nike and Target.

Budget – Team Obama spent an average of $2.8 mil. a day, on advertising during the presidential campaign. (Who says social media is cheap.)

Media Spend – Surprisingly only $8 mil. was spent online during the whole campaign with Google being the largest beneficiary. In fact, Team Obama spent the vast majority of their $600 mil. war chest on above-the-line advertising (TV, radio, print, direct mail, PR). Just his 30 min. infomercial during the World Series cost $4 mil by itself. According to Campaign Media Analysis Group and the NY Times, Team Obama spent over $236 mil on TV and $250 mil on radio. If you project the TV spend, by itself, Team Obama will have spent more than most major marketers budget for their total marketing spend for the year. Companies such as McDonald’s, Verizon, WalMart, and Target are all out spent by Team Obama.

Integration – This is where the true genius of Team Obama shines. They were masters at integration of new media, traditional media, PR, and good old-fashion door-to-door marketing. The types of media was used according to their strength (brand messages to the masses via TV, niche communication via social media, call to action via door-to-door) All of this was held together by the brand, the main thread (in their case, rope) that kept the campaign cohesive and coordinated.

So what can we conclude? Here are few take aways I have:
• To achieve a big goal, you must allocate resources proportionally (you can’t expect to make a big splash by dipping your toe in the water.)
• Brand. Brand. Brand.
• Integrate your tactics to support each other in a symbiotic circle
• There is no silver bullet


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

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