SELLING A PRESIDENT
SO THE POLLSTERS got it right, successfully predicting an Obama victory. The final margin was 5,6 percentage points – very close to what the opinion polls indicated. And a more progressive electorate than in the past didn’t lie to the polltakers, as many feared they would, or change their minds when faced with the task of actually voting for an African-American.
Barack Obama knew that was a danger, which was why he kept hammering away at his followers not to become complacent. He needed that seven-point cushion.
He was helped by one of the most powerful political slogans in recent years: “Yes, we can.” Funny how three simple words can acquire an aura beyond reason. It is, of course, also a powerful branding slogan, like “Just do it”, “Impossible is nothing” or “We try harder”.
Indeed, Obama’s entire campaign was a fantastic example of outstanding marketing. His strategic key positioning word – “change” – was better than McCain’s, which kept shifting, as he was depicted as a conservative, war hero, maverick straight talker. In the end, as Obama stuck to his philosophy of change, McCain was forced to adopt a responsive stand, in which he promised to do change better than Obama.
Obama also used the new media – online and mobile – effectively, while McCain seemed unable to comprehend them, rather like the traditional father who has to ask his 10-year-old son to send an SMS.