Marketing Lessons from Obama's Campaign – BusinessWeek

In recent weeks, I’ve ended up more than once amid marketing executives discussing, with apparent seriousness, what the purveyors of ordinary products can learn from the campaign that sold America on Barack Obama. To which my response is, well, they can learn lots. As long as they, too, sell something that makes people cry when they see it giving an acceptance speech.

Hate to tell you, Mr. Marketer, but your yogurt isn’t going to turn those who eat it a few times a month into heroes. Because—duh!—yogurt, like virtually all other products, won’t generate intense identification and loyalty and participation among the citizenry. Those who pontificate on marketing matters already are prattling on about how Obama created a wiki campaign, in which thousands, if not millions, both influenced and sold the brand. But what’s left obscure is how impossible it is for almost anything else to generate such a response. And it overlooks how disciplined the Obama campaign was in driving its one-word message of “change” from the top down. The genius was not in the wiki. It was in launching a simple-themed campaign that participants flocked to.

Marketing Lessons from Obama’s Campaign – BusinessWeek

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  1. To which I’d add: I think one of the reasons that people were drawn to Obama’s message of hope and change is because they realized that it is in the political realm (albeit in this version: lame electoral politics) that these things actually can be realized. For years advertising has kept these words alive, holding them out as promises, only to frustrate us with their banal “solutions”: yogurt, perfume, an SUV. Call Obmamania the beginnings of a sort of de-sublimation.

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