Politicians are increasingly using the internet to digitize their campaign efforts. The use of online video was critical in the historic Presidential election of 2008, and once again the President’s team is using it to influence the public.

In an effort to promote Obama’s new American Jobs Act, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) launched what turned out be a viral marketing campaign on Monday September 12. The governing group of the U.S. Democratic party, the DNC, leveraged the combination of online video and advertisements to get the attention of their ideal supporters in hopes of winning them over enough to get their votes on the American Jobs Act, the President’s new plan for creating jobs throughout the nation. The ultimate goal was directing consumers to a website where they could learn more about the plan.

The DNC used a three-part video series to drive its advertising initiatives, which were kicked off with “14 Months,” a TV ad that featured President Obama speaking on the proposed jobs act while reminding us that the next election is a mere 14 months away. Up next was the online ads, starting with “Tomorrow,” a 30-second spot promoting the act through testimonials of consumers speaking on the need for creating jobs. This was followed by “Relief,” the 15-second spot that may have made the biggest impact online. Another video ad designed to highlight the importance of Obama’s plan, Relief ran on multiple sites, including Facebook, YouTube, Hulu, Pandora, the Huffington Post and several other news outlets.
Recapturing the Magic

Harnessing the power of video and the internet in general is nothing new for the DNC. Having used it successfully in the past, the committee is certainly no stranger to online marketing. It tapped into the resources of the digital channel to score its biggest victory ever and help wrap up the election in 2008. And while the DNC’s success can be attributed to a variety of factors, YouTube in particular was hugely instrumental in the outcome.

You may recall that there was a point in the grueling 2008 election when Obama’s chances of winning were slim. Videos of Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s controversial sermons were circulating through YouTube, and public perception of the presidential hopeful was starting to wane. In a strategic move, Obama’s team fought back by promoting a lengthy speech he delivered focusing on race relations to a Philadelphia crowd. Not only did the clip of that speech calm the concerns of voters, it also tallied up well over five million views on YouTube, more than any other video of its kind. By the time election day rolled around, 28% of voters admitted to watching Obama’s videos online.

While true intentions are always questionable when political gain is on the line, even members of the Republican party have come out to speak on the brilliance of the DNC’s latest advertising program. All signs are pointing to the digital channel playing an even bigger role in the upcoming Presidential election than it did in the monumental election of 2008.