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Modern Political Campaigns and Advertising.

February 15, 2013

Film + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia

To celebrate the release of NO, out now in cinemas we have compiled a great political piece with our friends, PR company, Way to Blue.


– 2008 was the year the US saw it elect its first ever African-American President in Barack Obama. A historic feat that will never be forgotten, this win has been doubly recognised for the way President Obama secured his place at the head of the White House. It would be easy to out his win down to the idea that a vote for Obama was in actual fact a vote against the bumbling failings of predecessor George Bush, but a look deeper into Obama’s campaign shows a dynamic and modern pathway to undeniable success.

The most pronounced aspect of Obama’s 2008 campaign was the idea of bringing Hope and Change to the US. Nowhere was this idea of bringing Change more marked than in the way Obama’s entire campaign was run as a whole. During a time when social media is at the forefront of many people’s everyday lives, Obama’s people utilised social media as a tool through which they could reach further out to voters of all ages and occupations. It also allowed for both the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary and the 2008 Presidential Election to become of global interest.

But the use of the internet as his campaigning tool did not stop there. The Obama campaign also used YouTube for free advertising to great effect. Political Joe Trippi argues that the success of this should not be overlooked, arguing that the “videos were more effective than television ads because viewers chose to watch them or received them from a friend instead of having their television shows interrupted”, something that sounds so terribly simple, and yet, was so effective because of its simplicity.

This also bore the Obama ‘brand’ which saw Obama transformed into a brand that was, arguably, unlike any other presidential candidate we had ever seen. Wife and First Lady, Michelle Obama, was, and still is, a major part of the Obama-brand which saw her appearing on talk shows such as Ellen and discussing the things husband, Barack, enjoyed doing during his spare time, as well as hosting talks on the increase in childhood obesity of children in the US. Both appealed to female voters, young, old, mothers, and non-mothers. Nowadays, Michelle is admired in her own right, most notably her much talked about arms and her thrifty fashion sense. (The Conservatives seem to have attempted something similar with Prime Minster, David Cameron’s wife, Samantha Cameron, dubbed Sam-Cam, but not to the same effect).

Perhaps one of the biggest successes to have come out of the Obama-brand is President Obama himself. His appearances on TV were riddled with personality. Not only would he discuss topics of particular concern that related directly with his proposals but journalists felt comfortable enough with the personable candidate to ask him about general entertainment issues such as (rather oddly) Jessica Simpson’s infamous ‘mom jeans’ incident or Kanye West’s equally infamous embarrassing show of misguided loyalty towards friends Beyoncé and Jay-Z when interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at an Awards ceremony.

This, though once again seeming like a small thing on the whole portrayed President Obama as personable and not as far away to the everyday person as perhaps a presidential candidate or President of the United States would have been in the past. This is what gave him the edge to win the Presidency against Republican candidate, John McCain.

And in 2012, when ‘Hope’, ‘Change’, and, Personality were not enough, President Obama added action and decisiveness to his campaign in order to secure a second term as President. Though his lack of firmness did not help him in the First Presidential Debate against Republican candidate, Mitt Romney during the election, his decisive action when Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast proved his worth as a President against the ambivalence of Bush’s when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.

And with his historic second term as President cemented, President Obama’s road to successfully becoming the 44th President of the United States historic in itself for changing the ways of politics by integrating as many people (and therefore voters) as possible. And nothing demonstrates the depths of his far-reaching brand than his now famous tweet of “Four More Years” becoming the most tweet ever on Twitter after he was pronounced winner of the 2012 Presidential Election.