Barack Obama releases YouTube documentary to tell his story online

Barack Obama’s campaign team has long been praised for it’s innovative use of technology as a story telling an organising tool and developing a wide ranging social media arsenal, but with a new video it has upped the ante once again.

Obama 2012 has just released a YouTube video called “The Road We’ve Travelled” in which members of the administration past and present, including Mayor Rahm Emanual, David Axelrod, and Vice President Joseph Biden, tell the story of their first term, and the tough decisions that had to be made, and what has been achieved.

Going far beyond the usual ‘intern with a handicam’ clip we are used to seeing from political campaigns, the 17 minute long video was directed by Academy Award winner Davis Guggenheim, and narrated by Tom Hanks. It is accompanied by some suitably dramatic music, and has all the hallmarks of a Hollywood blockbuster.  There is even a heart-string tugging trailer:

The builds on the spirit of togetherness that Obama’s Organising For America has tried to harness online since 2007, making everyone feel that they have a stake in both the campaign and the Presidency. The story telling used to achieve this is striking enough, but the organising technology used is also highly innovative. As the New York Times explains:

“The new YouTube platform that the Obama campaign will use to release the documentary gives anyone visiting the president’s YouTube page a number of options to share the content or pledge support, the kind of one-click approach that campaigns now see as an integral part of their digital strategies.”

It’s political fundraising, Amazon style.

The video has clearly ruffled the feathers of Obama’s Republican opponents, who have released this rather unsubtle movie-style poster in response:

The full version of “The Road We’ve Travelled” had been viewed just over 300 times this morning (UK time), but expect this to go viral very quickly via social networks, and build up a considerable amount of views.

Little like this has been done before, and so there will doubtless be lots of news coverage too, which is an excellent way of the Obama campaign utilising new media to get free advertising space in the traditional media. It will also be interesting to monitor the amount of money that comes in directly as a result of people watching the clip.

Here’s the full video here: