In the year 2008, a single brand has established several new standards in viral PR, and created most of the noticed viral web content. The name of the brand? Barack Obama™. So fresh are the ideas from his web campaign, that it got even an unique name: Obamarketing. More…
In 2008, the web buzzwords vocabulary got enriched by one new phrase: “User generated campaign”. We have heard of user generated content a long time ago (In the context of web dynamics, “a long time ago” refers to a period of a few years), but this is quite a novelty: Hundreds, if not thousands of “users” all over the web create small Obama viral videos, images, games, all without any support or guidelines from the Democrats’ marketing department. It is arguably if those people could be even called “users” any more, since among them there are semi-professionals and professionals in photography, music, design, movie industry… so we are not talking about webcam teenagers here.
The result? Here is just an example: In February 2008 Obama had raised $55 million for his campaign, and out of that amount, $45 million was raised via the Internet. The amount of his small donors is enormous comparing to McCain’s. They are all “ten bucks” contributors, but multiplied by a large number. The story is just too similar to epic success of some of the most popular websites – they get a cent for a click but millions of them daily.
This leads us to a new buzzword – Viral fund raising. (Yes, keep all those phrases in mind for the next executive meeting, they are neat, huh?). The old-school method of fund raising, used by McCain and even Obama’s ex-rival Hillary Clinton was litteraly blown away by this new approach. While opponents were raising money traditionally – using real-life connections, and connections of those connections, and so on, Obama did all this completely viral – by recruiting unknown Internet users as his micro fund raisers, or as Malcolm Gladwell notes in “The Tipping Point” – mavens, connectors, and salesmen.
There are also some elements of Social Networking included. For example, when you donate an amount of money on Obama’s website, they will send you an email with gratitudes, but they will also give you a “match” – a real person who has just donated the same amount of money as you did, and a chance to start a chat with this person. This interaction in many cases leads to another donation, or refering a friend. Very powerful! Who knows, they may even introduce an advanced version where the system pops up an image of a handsome man or woman who has just donated and a chance to talk to that person if you double the amount. That would be even more effective.
If you go to the Digg and select any top list option: Latest 24 hrs, 7 days, month… it is most likely that four out of five stories will be about Obama. Here is a screenshot I took yesterday. And this is most likely to stay.
Explanation? Well, I think the most part of creative people – designers, musicians, directors are likely to vote for Obama. These are often people that consider themselves citizens of the planet Earth, no borders, no colors, let’s all live together, and so on… unlike republicans who are mostly non-creative and inside the box.
It is most likely that the Internet will be responsible for one of the greatest events in human history: The first black president.