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Barack Obama’s Campaign Ad Analysis

In 2008, Barack Obama ran for a second term in office. He wanted to achieve something that has eluded past presidents of his homeland, and that is to become a two-term President of the United States. To accomplish his goal he decided to produce a TV commercial that would allow him to communicate his message to a large group of people. Former President Obama was able to create a successful TV advertisement because he won a second term. It is a good idea to take a deeper look into the said TV commercial and try to understand the elements that enabled Obama to establish a connection with televiewers.

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How the Candidate Tried to Present Himself

Barack Obama tried to present himself as a candidate for the people. He wanted to show himself as a person who wanted to bring healing and unity into a divided nation. He presented himself as a competent politician with experience in building communities and performing excellently as one of the most powerful leaders of the nation. He also wanted to present himself as a better alternative. He wanted to package himself as a different type of politician. More importantly, he wanted his audience to realize that he wanted to bring hope into the lives of homeless people. At the same time, he wanted to inspire those who are living in fear.

Targeting a Particular Audience

One can make the argument that he was trying to reach out to those who are undecided when it comes to choosing the next president of the United States. It is easy to prove this assertion by referring to lines in the script that talks about the middle ground. In effect, Obama was saying that it was a ridiculous idea to talk about America in terms of partisan politics. Therefore, he was trying to persuade those who did not want to be labeled as a liberal or a democrat.

Creating a Connection with Voters

Aside from attempting to persuade the undecided voters, it was also made clear that Obama focused his attention on young voters. He made a connection with young voters by pointing at shared experiences and aspirations. Thus, Obama told them indirectly that he was like a dreamer like them. This was made clear when he opened the video with the line: “what if”, a statement that helps the audience to see that Obama was dreaming about the creation of a better country.

Verbal and Non-verbal Techniques

The effectiveness of the verbal techniques was highlighted in the first few seconds of the said advertisement because the words that the narrator uttered had a positive effect on the audience. However, it was not only the careful selection of words, but it was also the use of non-verbal techniques that added to the effectiveness of the message. For example, an image of a young Barack Obama working as a volunteer in helping impoverished people created a powerful message saying that Obama understood the plight of the poor and the hopeless because he used to work with them. Also, there was a video revealing a simple man, dressed in simple clothes and talking to a farmer. It created an idea that Obama had the skill and the desire to connect and work with humble and less fortunate individuals.

Elements at Odds

One of the most important conflicts that viewers may have noticed was about Obama’s political stance. He said that his country was never labeled as a liberal America or Conservative America because the people knew that his country is the United States of America. It was a well-crafted message. Nevertheless, it was a challenge trying to reconcile the idea that Obama tried so hard to stay in the middle, but in reality, he was a supporter of liberal ideologies and that he was a member of the Democratic Party.

Effective Persuasion

Obama was clever in using verbal and non-verbal techniques to persuade voters to support him in the 2008 presidential elections. For example, Obama and his team chose to reach out to young and undecided voters. Obama made them feel that he was one of them even without using specific words describing what he was trying to accomplish. Also, Obama was able to create a positive communication climate. He created an “endorsement” type of message that allowed him to create common ground with his selected audience (Wood, 2016)

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Barack Obama was able to secure a second term because of an effective election campaign that allowed Obama to connect with ordinary people. Obama was trying to persuade others to help him build a better nation compared to the present one.

Obama was also successful in creating an effective election campaign ad through the use of verbal and non-verbal techniques.It was the use of images and related videos that allowed the student to learn more and to study beyond the four corners of the classroom. In the end, Obama’s TV production crew performed well and delivered a persuasive message about the current role of the U.S. Government in terms of foreign relations.


TPMTV. (2017). Barack Obama Ad – What if. Web.

Wood, J. (2017). Communication mosaics. OH: Cengage Learning.

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