Baby boomers and Gen Xers declared mass marketing dead long ago. We live in a world of fragmented media surrounded by cynical consumers who can spot and block an ad message from a mile away. But what Gen Xers and boomers may not realize is that the unabashed embrace of select brands by millennials, from technology to beverages to fashion, has made this decade a true golden era of marketing for those who know what they’re doing. And when it comes to marketing, the Barack Obama campaign knows what it’s doing.
Mr. Obama’s brand management, unprecedented in presidential politics, shows pitch-perfect understanding of the keys to appealing to the youngest voters.
Perhaps inevitably, among the first apps introduced for Apple’s new iPhone — the latest success from another millennial mass marketer — was an Obama “Countdown to Change” calendar that ticks off the seconds until Election Day.
So what’s the appeal to the under-30 set? True, the youth vote traditionally skews Democratic, but the difference this year is that Mr. Obama has actually motivated turnout. His success, it seems, is a result of both product and the branding behind it. The qualities he projects — a cool, smooth aura, the communal values of hope and unity, his teeming crowds and his campaign’s seamless graphics — are the essence of appealing to millennials.
“Millennials want someone smart, funny and with a slight edge,” observes Allison Mooney, who tracks youth trends for Fleishman-Hillard’s Next Great Thing. Mr. Obama’s occasional prickly moments, as when he dismissed Mr. McCain’s recent ad comparing him to Paris Hilton — “Is this the best you can do?” — shows them he gets it. “Obama’s kind of mellow. He doesn’t have polarizing views.”
The following facts and figures are from http://www.pewinternet.org, As I studied for my MBA last year I used them a great deal as a source of accurate information especially since I was studying international marketing and the web is such a key element to successful business these days.
I thought is was appropriate to share this as we are all Xanga freaks and use the web daily to express ourselves, so too do the parties and candidates. Although McCain says he doesn’t know the web very well his staff certainly realize its power and Obama is using the web more than any candidate in history.
A record-breaking 46% of Americans have used the internet, email or cell phone text messaging to get news about the campaign, share their views and mobilize others.
Barack Obama’s backers have an edge in the online political environment. Furthermore, three online activities have become especially prominent as the presidential primary campaigns progressed:
First, 35% of Americans say they have watched online political videos, a figure that nearly triples the reading the Pew Internet Project got in the 2004 race.
Second, 10% say they have used social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace to gather information or become involved. This is particularly popular with younger voters: Two-thirds of internet users under the age of 30 have a social networking profile, and half of these use social networking sites to get or share information about politics or the campaigns.
Third, 6% of Americans have made political contributions online, compared with 2% who did that during the entire 2004 campaign.
A significant number of voters are also using the internet to gain access to campaign events and primary documents. Some 39% of online Americans have used the internet to access “unfiltered” campaign materials, which includes video of candidate debates, speeches and announcements, as well as position papers and speech transcripts.
Online activism using social media has also grown substantially since the first time we probed this issue during the 2006 midterm elections.
More web facts regarding this election:
1. 11% of Americans have contributed to the political conversation by forwarding or posting someone else’s commentary about the race.
2. 5% have posted their own original commentary or analysis.
3. 6% have gone online to donate money to a candidate or campaign.
4. Young voters are helping to define the online political debate; 12% of online 18-29 year olds have posted their own political commentary or writing to an online newsgroup, website or blog. Led by young voters, Democrats and Obama supporters have taken the lead in their use of online tools for political engagement. _
5. 74% of wired Obama supporters have gotten political news and information online, compared with 57% of online Clinton supporters.
6. In a head-to-head match-up with internet users who support Republican McCain, Obama’s backers are more likely to get political news and information online (65% vs. 56%).
Obama supporters outpace both Clinton and McCain supporters in their usage of online video, social networking sites and other online campaign activities. Yet despite the growth in the number of people who are politically engaged online, internet users express some ambivalence about the role of the internet in the campaign.
On one hand, 28% of wired Americans say that the internet makes them feel more personally connected to the campaign, and 22% say that they would not be as involved in the campaign if not for the internet. At the same time, however, even larger numbers feel that the internet magnifies the most extreme viewpoints and is a source of misinformation for many voters.