“Take my $50 & become my president!”

By Linh PMP

After Super Tuesday, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won a series of state-by-state victories; however, this article will not talk about them, but about the 74-year-old candidate, Bernie Sanders who would be the oldest person ever to be elected president if succeeded in his bid for the presidency. This OLD man has actually won a lot of support from YOUNG voters, Millennial. How come? Well, A Presidency Campaign is basically a marketing campaign designed to persuade the voters to pay their attention and take action in supporting the candidate that can deliver the wanted and needed unique selling points. I’m not his supporter, frankly, but just wanna have a look at Bernie’s landing page to see how he has done it digitally, from a marketing perspective rather than politics.

The audience

The Newyorker called Bernie “the populist prophet”, which means his “activities are intended to get the support of ordinary people by giving them what they want” (Cambridge dictionary). He wants to represent “ordinary people”, criticizing the current economy that works for 1% of the population who are rich. He was not a popular guy. “90% American knew about Hilary but most had no idea about me”, said Bernie. He is not rich, either. While Hilary planned to fundraise 1 billion USD for the campaign, he only expected 50 million USD. Looking at the footer of his landing page, we can see what he wants to emphasize “Paid for by Bernie 2016 (not the billionaires)”! Also, on the landing page, it does not say “Follow Bernie”, but “Connect with Bernie”, on facebook, or twitter, or youtube and so on. There is a clear message: Hey, I’m not an icon that consider you as fans. I’m one of you, so I probably understand you more than other rich guys who don’t have to care how to survive in our world! Besides, the option for Espanol on top is also important signal to say that he wants to speak in the audience’s language (of course most presidential candidates have done this basic technique).

The empowerment

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Unlike what we can find on the landing pages for Hilary, Trump, Marco or Ted, etc., with the top featured image of the bright, powerful and confident presidential candidates, the theme photo of Bernie’s page is NOT about him, but about the people of different ages, genders, ethnicities, professions, emotional expressions, etc.

Again, the landing page focuses on the target audience of 99% population. Trump said “Make America great again”, with confidence. Hilary said “Thank you for being part of this”, with more appreciation. But when Bernie said, in his landing page’s tagline “This is your movement”, it sounds more inclusive and empowering to the audience.

The call-to-action

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The call-to-action is really clear and convenient to navigate. It gives various options to get social by attending events, spreading content by sharing with friends, contributing by being volunteers and donating, while other presidential campaign websites normally have only two options of leaving contact and making donation. Relating this to the new Facebook’s launch of more emotion attributions besides the “like” button (now they have “love, laugh, wow, sad, angry”), this set of various options allows the audience to have more choices of engagement.

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Moreover, the call-to-action is repeated near the footer with the message “Are you ready?”, which I hardly find on other presidential candidates’ pages. They normally start calling for support on the headers, but do not repeat it at the end. Bernie’s page does repeat it as a reminder and also a compelling closing, affirming the main purpose of this landing page: calling people to join.

More to think

Bernie’s audience can see themselves on this landing page, then start supporting him, believing in the future that is designed for 99% of the population who are ordinary. In fact, within 24h after his declaration of joining the presidency election, he fundraised 1.5 million USD from 35,000 people, with the average donation of 50USD each. Quite impressive!

What would have been done better can be a more relevant compelling favicon and a story-telling video (or a short statement with navigation to such video) that explains “Why support Bernie” (stating his target audience, his vision and action plan) on the landing page.

Of course more supporters through a great marketing campaign doesn’t make a candidate the best president, but a good president and his team need to know how to tell the stories in the most effective way to the mass audience in this digital world. Good luck, political marketers!

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