“Change we can believe in” was one of the greatest campaign slogans in political history. The spectacular visual hammer of the sun on the horizon along with that verbal nail put Barak Obama in the White House. But staying there another four years wouldn’t be so easy. Incumbents can’t run on change or hope, they have to run on their records. And with a still-suffering economy and gridlock in Washington Obama didn’t have a lot of success or jobs to boast about. Selling Obama in 2012 wasn't going to be easy.
But with one brilliant word, Obama made his case. His “forward” slogan did what most slogans do not. It cut both ways. It said something positive about his brand while also saying something negative about the competition. That’s tough to do. But when you do that, your slogan is extremely powerful. Obama set up the election as a choice between going forward with him or going backwards with Romney to policies that failed in the past. What did Romney say? “Believe in America.” That slogan implies that Obama doesn’t believe in America. Obama spent four years as President and doesn’t believe in America? Makes no sense and says nothing.
The final and not insignificant touch was incorporating Obama’s powerful visual hammer from 2008 right into the slogan itself. He couldn’t say “hope” but that visual did. It hammered his message in an emotional way words alone cannot. No matter what party you voted for or believe it, you have to admit the marketing of Obama was pure genius. Because it was.