strategy Shows Viral's Power With Obama Vid


Putting personal political philosophies and candidate choices aside, has been demonstrating some serious viral video skills in its campaigns in support of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama--particularly in its latest "get out the vote" effort to those already in the Obama camp.

According to a tally at the group's Web site, the latest MoveOn viral effort had moved an astounding 9.241 9.258 million people to pass it on as of 1:15 p.m. on Thursday.

What's so compelling? MoveOn made it possible for users to easily personalize the tongue-in-cheek, yet pointed video and send it on to friends and family members. The video's premise is a (so far) fictional scenario in which one Obama supporter's failure to get out and vote ends up in a win for Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain.



It works so well, says brand guru Laura Reis, president of Ries & Ries Focusing Consultants, because "Obama is such a strong and powerful brand, consumers are proud to advertise for him and receive ads from him. Passing along a pure Obama advertisement is something (especially right before Election Day) consumers are happy to do and happy to receive."

When recipients download the video, their names are inserted throughout as the individual responsible for Obama's one-vote election loss. The premise is a "newscaster" reporting on the uproar over the one-vote loss in a "newscast" taking place on Friday, Nov. 7.

Viral marketing--where consumers are asked to pass along advertising--is not easy to do, notes Reis. "Consumers in general dislike advertising and avoid it. So for consumers to pass something along it has to be almost devoid of any brand message or pitch. Without a brand message, why do the viral campaign at all? Many times people don't even remember what the viral campaign was for. They just remember the cute, dancing elves."

The CNNBC-delivered video is identified (in small print at the bottom of the form) as "paid for by Political Action."

The success of this latest viral video on a sheer response basis seems undeniable, and it follows other innovative uses of video during this campaign by MoveOn.

In March, MoveOn ran a contest, "Obama in 30 Seconds," asking people to create a 30-second ad in favor of Sen. Obama's presidency. In April, the organization began posting the 1,100 videos received, and 5.5 million people voted to help select the 15 finalists.

MoveOn, which claims to have more than 3.2 million members, describes its mission as "work[ing] together to realize the progressive promise of our country" and "a way for busy but concerned citizens to find their political voice in a system dominated by big money and big media."

Says Reis: "Obama has been the best-branded politician ever. He had so many strikes against him, yet he beat all odds (plus the Clintons) with a better brand strategy."

But, she adds, "politics are short-term."

This week, an Obama viral campaign moves millions to pass it on. Next month, not so much.

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