One Of The Biggest Missed Marketing Opportunities In U.S. History

Brian Halligan
Brian Halligan



In the Inbound Marketing book , I wrote a case study about how an unknown, black senator with a funny name and no money (Barack Obama) was able to beat the Hillary Clinton machine using brilliant, modern marketing methods.  Two years later, I think that same guy missed the biggest, most obvious marketing opportunity in U.S. history.

If I were Obama, I would have stood up in front the country from the Oval Office on July 4, 2010 with a live video of the oil gushing out of the gulf behind me and announced an energy independence initiative with a goal of getting us off our addiction to oil by 2020.  In the address, I would have compared the new energy independence mission to JFK's mission to the moon in importance, scope, and historical significance.  I would have laid out the following reasons for the energy independence initiative:

1.  By getting off our addiction to oil, the country would end up being far less invested in the Middle East and would be unlikely to continue to lose our brave young citizens in foreign deserts.

2.  By getting off our addiction to oil, the country would do far less damage to our environment and would start doing its part to slow down the impact of global warming, lest our coastal cities end up under water. 

3.  By getting off our addiction to oil, we would have to invest in building a major new energy industry which should end up being a major net exporter for us and a major driver of job growth the way the computer industry, movie industry (Hollywood), biotech and others are for us today.  If we don't build this industry and technology, someone else will.

4.  By getting off our addiction to oil, we could stop building super complicated oils rigs off our coasts and stop shipping giant containers of oil around the globe, both of which are giant, ticking environmental time bombs


This summer's oil spill captivated the nation.  We were shocked at the scale and severity -- for most of us, it was a real wake-up call.  Obama missed the window to capitalize on that consciousness and rally the nation around the audacious goal of transforming the environment, the economy, and our national security in one sweeping initiative.

Here at HubSpot, we are not advocates for the Democratic party, the Republican party, the Tea Party, or the Frat Party, but I do think Obama missed a whopper of an opportunity to turn a huge negative into a huge positive.

P.S.  One thing I don't understand is why the Obama team does not use video and Powerpoint in their presentations to help make their points.  I get that standing up in front of people or the camera and doing a speech without visual aids is a tradition that is hundreds of years old, but this guy is a blackbelt in breaking with tradition.  Just as FDR used radio to better communicate with the country with his fireside chats, Obama's team should start using powerpoint, video, etc to help him deliver his message to the country.  They weren't afraid to use new web technology like Facebook, Twitter, SMS, etc to get elected, why not use new tools to communicate with the country to sell their ideas?  There is a reason that Steve Jobs doesn't do his keynote addresses without Powerpoint/Keynote slides -- they help him drive home his points!

-- Brian Halligan

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