Motivational Marketing Video

I first saw this video when Jeremy mentioned it. A singer saw a Barack Obama speech and decided to create a song about his message. In 10 days the video has got 3.5 million views, and has been featured on and The New York Times.

The song is a prime example of how the Web’s user-generated content sites are undeniably affecting voter engagement this election cycle. Purchasing four and a half minutes of national TV airtime would have been near impossible, but the Internet can reach that highly sought youth audience gratis.

As Seth recently stated, almost every effective marketer targets one of a few human emotions: fear, hope, or love.

Simplicity and clarity allow a message to resonate and spread far. Arianna Huffington, reflecting on seeing the L.A. Obama rally, wrote:

After the dark, uninspiring -- indeed deeply alienating -- years of the Bush presidency, the feeling that I took away from these conversations resonates even more profoundly today: that it is time we recognize that our search for a great president is also a search for our better selves. Finally, a political litmus test that matters: Which presidential candidate can lead us to do more good than we think we're capable of

In most markets you do not need to be at that level to compete, but it would be hard to lose if you were. The market for something to believe in is infinite.

Published: February 12, 2008 by Aaron Wall in videos


February 12, 2008 - 7:42am

No doubt you are right about the nature of viral messaging on the internet.

Though I am constrained to point out that google/YouTube had to *pay* for those 3.5M views and probably got a half dozen ad clicks.....

Also, and I only bring this up because you brought politics (can January come soon enough?) into a professional SEO corporate website - it's an important season to remember that not everyone shares any particular political opinion.

We are very careful to keep pretty rigidly neutral in our public/corporate stance because the quickest way to lose a buy decision is to be a Leftard Socialist while the purchasing agent is a Bushitlermchimpy Warmonger. Or vice versa.


February 12, 2008 - 8:00am

The YouTube brand also got 3.5 million brand exposures. When video ads become more popular and profitable they will more than get their money back.

I love the words you used to describe the edges of the political spectrum while talking about being neutral. ;)

February 12, 2008 - 3:25pm

YouTube need more brand exposure?

I think YouTube needs more revenue. Sorta like Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, and all those other 2.0 capital black holes....


February 12, 2008 - 5:15pm

YouTube does not compete against other video sites or social sites. That battle has already won. YouTube competes against television. And 3.5 million brand views is the sort of thing needed to keep pushing to compete against television.

February 12, 2008 - 9:22am

As a political advert, that song is an awesome piece of marketing. Soon all of the presidential candidates will have their own theme songs, and voter engagement will be measured by who has the most downloads.

February 12, 2008 - 12:27pm

Oliver -

Being opinionated is beneficial today.

Worrying about maybe offending someone for having an opinion is outdated thinking. It doesn't apply anymore.


One of Aaron's themes has been that with the overload of information on the internet, authority and authenticity is the real currency.

Stating strong opinions demonstrates authenticity. We respect authenticity even if we don't agree. It's rare.

I would be more likely to buy from someone I respect.

February 12, 2008 - 1:22pm

timmcg - I wonder who "we" is? There's a difference between colleagues and potential customers. While the average hip, 20-something SEO person might have such modern thoughts, the vast majority of business people are not interested in getting political commentary from their vendors. They just click away from your site. I suspect the average SEO consultant is looking to increase their business, and to do so will have to approach businesses outside of the small niche of "in the know" people.

If your brand is about politics, then sure talk politics. But if your brand is to be seen as a business professional, I'd stay away from it.

February 12, 2008 - 2:48pm

I don't agree.

Being authentic sucks people into your reality. It's attractive and its rare.

If Aaron starting blogging everyday about politics, it would turn people off. But that's not what's happening.

Does anyone regular reader think that Aaron doesn't have strong opinions about things outside SEO? We all know he does. On some level, we know he passionately believes things we don't and some things we do.

Big deal. Opinions are like a...(umm nevermind) - but passion - that is a rare quality.

February 12, 2008 - 7:15pm

It wasn't 3.5 million views in 10 days. It was more like 7 million. There are a few other copies of the video floating around on YouTube. One with 2.9 million views, another with 500k and a few others with like 50k.

Impressive regardless.

February 12, 2008 - 8:05pm

I tried to use the most conservative number possible so people would not focus on that part...even a few hundred thousand views is impressive, but approaching 10 million is amazing :)

February 13, 2008 - 10:44am

Yeah, I've certainly met businessmen who get apoplectic when they meet someone who's not a Republican. They're dinosaurs.

I've come to a view of politics that isn't black or white. Overall I'm a superleftist -- I not only voted for Nader in 2000 and 2004, but I worked on his campaign and spent more than a year working nearly full time on third party politics.

That said, I've got a lot of respect for Ronald Reagan. What happened to the presidents before him? Got shot. Had to quit. Had to quit. Wasn't elected. Couldn't cut it. Reagan kept an even keel when America was pulling out of a crisis, and I respect that, even if I don't agree with everything he said and did.

I found the Clinton years dispiriting -- that's when the left disappeared from Washington. Be it protecting the environment, protecting consumers from dangerous products and services, or treating the developing world with respect, it was entirely off the table.

Hillary Clinton is such a polarizing figure that she needs to give lots of ground to the right to just get a few percent more moderate votes. Obama, like Reagan, may be able to hold to the center and win over his opponents with charm. That's a good thing.

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