By: Irina Skaya
In light of President’s Week, I want post about the 2008 primary state of affairs as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton slug it out for the presidential nomination. There are several things that interest me about this particular election, and it’s not the potential win of the first woman president nor the first black president. After all, we already had a black man and a white woman on the presidential ticket - Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988, and Geraldine Ferraro in 1984. What is is unique about this election is the viral online marketing campaign Obama has created. According to Time Magazine, no other campaign has tapped into social networks so aggressively, nor used the Internet to leverage the financial power of small donors.
Earlier this month, Obama scored highest among Democratic voters, ages 18-30 in the New York primaries. Why is Obama so popular among young voters? Is it because today’s generation of voters is colorblind or is it the emotional connection that Obama has created with them through social networking communities?
In one of his recent speeches, Obama stated that he wants to get people excited about politics again. I think he will achieve that--Obama is finding innovative ways to create a personal connection with potential voters, and to raise campaign dollars, using online social networks such as Facebook and MySpace. On Facebook, Obama has five times the number of Clinton supporters. Obama’s nearly 5-minute video response to President Bush’s “State of the Union” address became the most viewed video in the world. His own Website also features a community where potential voters may organize their friends, neighbors and networks. Members can build their own profile, form affinity groups, host events, write blogs, and, of course, donate money to his campaign. Obama even has his own user-generated channel called YouBama that features Obama supporters spreading the word on why he should be the 44th president.
Check out this powerful video, "Yes, we can" released by Black Eyed Peas' Will.I.Am, featuring a wildly diverse cross section of celebrity supporters:
Google trends show that in the last couple of months, the search volume for “Barack Obama” has exceeded the search volume for “Hillary Clinton.”
His online campaign has not only earned Obama $5 million more in donor dollars than Clinton’s fundraising efforts, but also allows him to gauge the pulse of his audience and know where to steer his campaign. So, who will win the democratic nomination? The candidate with a recognized brand name and relevant experience or the fresh face candidate who has superseded traditional advertising with buzz marketing, and as a result, leads the primary fund raising race?