There is no better show on Earth for getting a glimpse at the hottest trends in online marketing than the campaign trail that is the American presidential campaign. The 2012 Road to the White House has already blazed trails with innovations on Twitter and interactive video feeds, while also providing some less-than-stellar moments. President Obama’s “Betting on America” is the latest publicity blitz, and while the endeavor relies on new school tech, the whole affair feels decidedly old-timey.
Traveling town to town on trains and even covered wagons on whistle-stop tours is an iconic campaign tactic used in the United States since the early days of politics. The Betting on America bus tour, wherein the President and his entourage embarked on a two-day tour of Ohio and Pennsylvania, recalls that bygone era of campaigning but with a modern twist. Even the “Betting on America” logo aims to achieve a classic mid-century look with its classic type emblazoned over photos of national landmarks or American flags. Yet when you see the logo on Obama’s Facebook page, there’s no doubt that we are indeed in the modern age.
The Obama campaign continues to brilliantly engage its social media followers with photos right from the bus tour, quotes from the Commander-in-Chief done meme style and even a little Romney bashing. With some 27 million (and counting) likes on Facebook, it’s clear that Obama owns Facebook marketing like no other politician out there. So, naturally, there’s no better place to introduce the Betting on America campaign. The aforementioned logo along with details of the bus tour look right at home on the POTUS’ campaign page. Likewise, just the term “betting on America” turns up all kinds of pro-Obama tweets on Twitter. Well, expect for the rash of tweets that pointed out the Betting On America bus tour was conducted on a bus made in Canada. Tiny oops. The prez’s Twitter in general isn’t as effective as his FB efforts, but with this promotional push, it seems to have worked just fine. (P.S. Barack: We can totally help you with your Twitter troubles. Just sayin’.)
Betting on America, while kind of corny and maybe not super imaginative, is a real sign of the times when it comes to political marketing. Candidates, like all brands, are constantly searching for new ways to engage followers of all ages and walks of life. In this way, the gap between time-tested advertising techniques and new platforms like social media marketing gets smaller and smaller.
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