Digital campaign won the election

So Barack Obama is finally victorious. The US election has been lengthy and the need for political titillation and humour was essential. The Yanks delivered - Palin was a gift-wrapped joy, as were Michelle Obama's shift dresses, the old guy and the calm guy - but the real star was the internet.

Tara Hamilton-Miller

Although it will be Obama who is remembered for an outstanding web-based campaign, it was actually McCain who kicked it off with footage of his time as a prisoner during the Vietnam War. Obama swiftly caught up, with more than a million supporters receiving texts, emails and speech footage daily.

Of course it was about getting volunteers and raising money, but most importantly, getting the vote. McCain's daughter had a refreshingly honest blog, we had 'Obama Girl' in a bikini singing 'I got a crush on Obama', and CNBC sent clever mock footage of Obama losing and it being your fault to 20 million people.

What was brilliant was the way that technology mixed with old-fashioned political passion, a bit like the Kennedy campaign in the 1960s. Despite the high-tech approach there was a real traditional feel about it. Support for Obama brought neighbourhoods together, a sentiment last felt 40 years ago.

It is highly likely that the next general election will use the same viral campaigns. The recent BBC debacle proved that the chattering British are still newspaper-led but both parties will definitely learn from the US campaign and try to use the internet for publicity.

The Tories dabbled in 2005 when election guru Lynton Crosby put Andrew Lloyd Webber's Take That Look off Your Face to a montage of Blair's smirking face. This was popular at team meetings within Tory HQ, but didn't get the circulation it could have.

There is gentle chatter of an early election in spring. Labour and Tory smarty-pants will have to get creative and quick. A few thoughts...

Kirsty Allsopp and Marco Pierre White resplendent in 'We'd rather go naked than vote for Gordon' film/roadshow/musical. Peter Mandelson adrift on a pedalo with the Howards' Way music in the background...

Tara Hamilton-Miller is a political adviser and formerly worked for the Conservative Party press team.

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