Obama: it was Facebook wot won it…

There’s a great article here on the Guardian by Matthew Fraser & Soumitra Dutta about the combination of online activity and traditional political advertising which won the election for Obama.

It’s interesting because he spent so much on TV spots, and no doubt naysayers will no doubt point to that and say it was ‘business as usual’, and TV advertising will still win you elections/sell your products by the bucket load. 

But it was through the internet that Obama essentially built one of the most compelling belief brands of all time, in a little under two years, and in the process raised the money that he could spend on TV ads to counter the expected ‘win the day’ strategy of the opposition (watch Michael Tomasky’s take on that here, and delve more into his great election coverage… I’m beginning to believe he’s this generation’s Alastair Cooke)…


The internet built the belief, fed the story, brought the tribe together.  The TV ads just helped people confirm what they already believed, rather than trying to change their minds.

It’s like slow planning that I talked about before, and keep finding new evidence like this that underpins the philosophy; stop planning in big, time sensitive chunks, and use the internet to build continually over time. 

Just because the previous century of mass media communications meant you had to deliver all your messages in one chunk doesn’t mean you still have to. 

Far better to build a movement slowly, and when you’ve got enough to talk about and celebrate, take it ‘mainstream’ (if you need to).