Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obama's Half-Hour Infomercial - Really Smart Marketing

That 30-minute infomercial that the Obama campaign put on before the World Series shows what some media savvy and a whole lot of money can do.

From a marketing point of view, it may not be as crazy as it seems. My first reaction, hearing what Obama and all planned to do was that the Obama team had lost its collective marbles.

I pictured a scene playing out, all over America: baseball fans, eager and excited about watching the pre-game show; turning on their TVs; and, instead of the expected discussion of the season that was and the game that would be; they get a half-hour advertisement, telling them why they should vote for Obama.

Quite a few of the baseball fans I've known over the years would turn from neutral to hostile over being denied their programming.

Looks like I was wrong.

So far, there's been no continent-wide roar of protest.

In fact, CNN's coverage of the Obamathon concentrated on its historic significance. Nobody's bought this much air time, this late in the campaign, before. Ross Perot did something like it, back in 1992, we're told, but that was much earlier in the campaign.

From CNN: "...'It's evidence, if you needed any, that the Obama campaign has more money than there is ad time left to buy,' said Evan Tracey, director of the Campaign Media Analysis Group. 'This is flexing the muscles.'

"Tracey estimates that it will cost the campaign 'in the $4 to 5 million range -- at a minimum, $3.5 million.'

"But, he said, spending the money is a 'no-brainer' for the Democratic presidential hopeful.

" 'The strategic brilliance of this for Obama is that he is going to consume about 24 hours of the news cycle,' Tracey said. 'It boxes [John] McCain in, takes the oxygen out of the room.'..." [emphasis mine]

Looking at the advertising that way, it makes sense. Besides the World Series audience, Obama's getting about a day's worth of free publicity from the news services.

I have to admit it: buying all that air time, on all those networks, was a smart way of spreading the campaign money around.

I'm still very concerned about Obama's repeated assurances that he wants to "spread the wealth around."

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