And The Real Winner Is…

This November Fourth, the most expensive product launch in history will end.

The campaign has been interesting to practitioners of non-traditional media of all political persuasions. Blogs, webinars, Tweets, ‘zines, established social networks such as Facebook, as well as special purpose online communities have enabled even obscure aspirants to become contenders. For example, new media enhanced and extended the candidacy of Ron Paul. With them, he could mount a boot-strap campaign becoming better known and then raising more funds in an increasing cycle.

There has been a marked difference in effort and effectiveness of employing new media among the candidates. Obama’s campaign has been far more active and effective than McCain’s. This has propelled Obama’s advantage in fund raising and via social-networking increased his online coverage versus that of McCain.

Obama has raised over $600 million and McCain more than $ 350 million[1]. What can you do with such a marketing budget? New media are so effective and efficient, that it would be really hard to spend it in that way. Thus the campaigns are buying huge amounts of airtime. This leads to the ironic result that the real winners of 2008 are old media.

[1] There are a number of other active candidates, such as Ralph Nader. According to Federal Elections Commission data, total amount raised by all other candidates is less than 0.5% of what McCain and Obama have raised.