It’s been a long time since I read every word in a marketing email. Today Barack Obama sent me a 1525 word email and I read the whole thing.
The base of the email was a game of chance the Obama campaign ran through the month of July. If you donated (at least $5, I think) before July 31st you were entered for a chance to win tickets to the convention in Denver and meet Barack before the big acceptance speech. Now I never play the lottery, but hell, I was planning on donating anyway.
Obviously this hasn’t been at the front of my mind, but reading an email on my phone this afternoon reminded me of the contribution I made a few weeks back. I came to realize pretty early that this email wasn’t notifying me to buy a plane ticket and pack my bags, but I still kept reading.
It’s nothing special, just a very engaging and well-run contest. The hook is the descriptions of the winners. Actually in the world of politics, engaging is special. The bio’s of the winners really set this email apart. As a skeptic it is easy to look at the bios, notice the clear archetypes and write this off as too well planned. 99 times out of 100 that is the approach that I would take, but I didn’t this time. And that means something.
First, it means that Barack has my attention. 1525 words that’s a lot.
More importantly, these aren’t characters chosen by casting directors like it’s the real world, and even if they are it doesn’t matter. I read the bios and didn’t dismiss them as a marketing ploy. And that’s what makes this a marketing masterpiece.
Something has happened this year and the Obama campaign has turned the corner. For an admitted cynic like me, and millions of people that aren’t, we’ve switched our default to belief instead of doubt. The bios, no matter how fitting, are believable because many people we know, including ourselves, could easily be one of them.
The story is real, but at this point that only makes it slightly better than if it wasn’t.