The Weird Obama Campaign Subject Lines That Got People to Donate The Most

"Hey" and "I will be outspent" outperformed hundreds of other subject lines.

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The bizarre subject lines in President Barack Obama's campaign E-mails were the fodder for many jokes during the election, but the campaign is having the last laugh.

Bloomberg Businessweek story out Thursday on the science behind those E-mails reveals that the subject line "Hey" brought in millions of dollars. The campaign also projects that the subject lines "I will be outspent," "Some scary numbers" and "If you believe in what we're doing" would all have brought in around $1 million or more if sent to their entire mailing list.

Those numbers track with the E-mail strategy Jim Messina described in a Politico Playbook breakfast last Tuesday.

[ENJOY: Political Cartoons on President Obama]

"Every single E-mail you ended up getting from us had already been tested in a number of ways," Messina said. The E-mail promising "Dinner with Barack" did incredibly well, he said, because "there were all these people wanting to sign up and be a part of...history."

But the E-mail announcing an event with George Clooney may have done even better. Messina said the campaign raised about $13 million from that event. "What is it about Clooney that every woman in this room is nodding?" he joked.

The campaign also tested E-mails beyond just the subject line, such as where to place the donate button on the page. Businessweek reports that "ugly" E-mails with old-school fonts or plain-text links for donating often won out.

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  • Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook or reach her at eflock@usnews.com.