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Searching for Barack's Parents

Last night's Barack Obama "infomercial" crammed a lot of stuff into its 30-minute run-time. There were stories from "real Americans" (who, coincidentally, happen to live in swing states), clips from speeches, and personal stories on the candidate himself. But of all the ad's content, folks seemed most interested in the portion on Obama's parents and relatives.

Following Barack-o-vision, searches soared on all kinds of familial terms. Queries on "barack obama's father" and "barack obama sr." both surged. Related terms on "barack obama sr. biography" and "pictures of barack obama dad" posted strong gains. The fact that the presidential candidate barely knew his father must have helped spur the interest among viewers.

Barack's mother's story was touched upon during the ad/documentary, and drew tremendous interest in Search. Lookups for "barack obama mom" and "ann dunham cancer" jumped following the primetime ad, as did queries for "barack obama grandmother" and "obama grandparents," with whom he lived during his childhood. 

The infomercial also mentioned that Obama's grandmother's brother, Charlie Payne, fought in World War II. Lookups for "charlie payne" jumped during the telecast as people sought more information.

The ad itself drew mixed reviews. Some felt it skipped over "budget realities," while others felt it was "worth the cost." These differing reactions may just be partisan bickering, but one fact can't be argued: The ad performed well in the ratings, beating out "the usual broadcast programming in the 8 p.m. time period." Eat your heart out, "Next Top Model."

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