On the occasion of Barack Obama’s nationwide TV prime time infomercials last night, Fast Company’s Ellen McGirt reviewed the campaign’s media strategy and in particular its innovative use of amateur (or “professional” amateur a.k.a. "promateur") video. While the Obama camp has heaped millions of dollars on traditional TV broadcasters, setting a new record for ad spending ($250 million), McGirt believes that the true winners in this campaign are amateurs and democracy
To get an insider’s perspective, McGirt interviewed Obama’s director of field video, Arun Chaudhary, at an event in July in New York. Some of the insights Arun shared were pretty amazing. You thought we’d live in an age of snack-size media? Think again!
One thing is clear: the Obama campaign - just awarded "marketer of the year" by AdAge -- has raised the bar for political communications and has created new ways of citizen engagement. During the last presidential election I was working towards a masters' degree in communications at the Annenberg School, and I remember that I wrote a lofty paper about “super-democracy,” in which I drafted a radically idealistic vision of a media-driven democracy in real-time. It’s amazing to see that four years later this has become a reality beyond my boldest imagination. Leveraging the power of new web technologies, the Obama campaign has transformed political media from something to watch to something to do.
This means of course that we citizens expect this form of participatory democracy, transparency, and authenticity to extend to the White House. Interactive visualizations of federal budgets and tax dollar spending, open platforms for public deliberation and collaborative decision-making, instant polling via mobile apps, RSS feeds with policy updates, and fireside video chats with the President are just some of the possible formats that come to mind for the New Governance Media Platform – McGirt is right: Obama and team are on the hook (if they win).