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The Obama Text Message – Brilliant Stunt or Brilliant Strategy?

August 23, 2008

With all of the buzz about the Veepstakes and chatter about the Obama campaign announcing it first with a text message, the anticipation became too much yesterday. I just had to know first. I wanted to be a part of the millions of people in the know with a text. So I went to Obama’s site and gave them the most precious piece of data and access to yours truly … my cell phone number and permission to text me. While I was in there, I was blown away by the depth and granularity of their mobile program. If you’re passionate about one issue and prefer texts to e-mail, you got it. And they’ve got you on election day. The first thing the confirmation text asked me to do was text back my zip code so they could text me about local doings.

The Huffington Post has a good commentary on this announcement. Greg was musing about the power of anticipation to keep you on the edge of your seat with the Olympics. This announcement had a similar effect on me … the pending announcement was motivating enough for me to hand over data (a marketers dream). And the anticipation was satisfied this morning. The first thing I did was go to my phone. I already knew he’d picked Biden. But I wanted to see for myself the digital confirmation on my iPhone that I did indeed get The Text and have a moment of feeling like an insider.

The executional question this kind of event raises is How can we make things bigger and more engaging and build anticipation and excitement for brands?

The strategic question this thing raises is How can we craft things tighter so that we accomplish multiple objectives with one strike?

Obama just got millions of phone numbers/zips, the ability to do 1:1 outreach, press coverage on his take-it-to-the-people strategy and use of mobile, and 30 hours on CNN awaiting a text and a few side buzz stories about the fact that it would take a few hours for all of the texts to go out because of the strain on the telecoms with that kind of volume. That’s a lot of action for one text. But it proves that it can be done.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Linda Garavalia permalink
    August 23, 2008 5:29 pm

    I was thrilled to get my email and text early this morning! and then I was invited to send Joe Biden a welcome message, all from my blackberry, beautiful.

  2. August 24, 2008 10:41 pm

    Let us not forget the key ingredient here though – an already established and (subjectively) quality brand and a much hyped event of international proportion. Some of the key things forgotten when orgs try to lift strategies like this, and then (shockingly) wonder why they didn’t have as much success.

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