Why the Obama Coin program never should have worked:

  • The economics of the product did not fit the typical DR formula. Typical markup needs to be 5:1, but we were under 3:1 since both coins were gold layered, colorized and had intrinsic currency value.
  • We tested Obama coins in print twice earlier in the year and both times the tests failed miserably.
  • The product was conceptually developed only ten days before the 2008 election.
  • The Obama Presidential Coin TV spot was created in less than five days.

October 2008 was an interesting time with the upcoming Presidential Election. The Barack Obama campaign seemed more like a movement than a campaign, with individual events drawing as many as seventy-five thousand people. There was a buzz around it unlike the last several Presidential elections.

By late October it seemed that Obama was the strong front-runner (We did not bother to do a McCain commercial as we didn’t think he would win and even if he did, his supporters did not seem to have the same level of passion as Obama supporters). The product was created, offer developed and scripts written over a weekend.  The commercial was produced from start to finish in less than five days.  Media test schedules were booked on the condition that Obama won, tapes arrived at stations the day before election day.

A little luck never hurts. The Presidential election results were announced the day after Election Day and we were fortunate to run our the first Obama Coin spot on MSNBC at 9:57 Thursday morning. The results were instantly obvious with the CPO of that initial spot coming in at under a dollar. By that Thursday afternoon we were already booking the roll-out. We were fortunate to have a week head start before other competitors had collectible commercials on the air. We tested dozens of stations, analyzed results several times a day and expanded to the strongest stations as soon as we had a reliable read. We received 100,000 orders in the first ten days and over 250,000 within about 45 days.

In addition to the strong upfront $10 offer, we also developed five very strong upsells which helped the campaign bring in an average $66 rpo (revenue per order). The success of the campaign was due to collaborating with strong vendors whose turnaround times were exceptional (Producer, IVR, Website, etc).