After the jump is a new sampling of interesting uses of online video in political campaigns, but first a look back.
Way back in May, we showed a bunch of the first wave of online campaign ads and predicted:
By the end of the election year, a majority of candidates in Internet-forward states, districts, and cities will be posting their campaign commercials to You Tube-like services (see examples after jump). Well-funded pols won't be the only ones doing it -- people running for the local school board will whip out their video cameras and create/post their own ads, too.
With six weeks left to go in the campaign, a YouTube search for "Congress" and "campaign" nets you 181 results. With at least two candidates in 435 districts, this is certainly not a fire hose of content. There's 182 results for "governor and campaign". And, mocking our prescience, there are only two results for "school board and campaign".
Some smart consultant(s) will figure out that posting 30-second made-for-TV ads of a well-coiffed candidate hugging his kids is kind of lame and start utilizing the immediacy of the Internet. How? By using YouTube video to provide instant responses to opponent's charges; by creating a daily vlog that allows the candidate to set the agenda for the day; and, by capturing and posting all the good thing that folks from key constituency groups said that day. Conversely, you could also video your opponent's missteps and fun shots of costumed protesters and get them up and across the Web ASAP. Bottom line, instead of totally relying on your media consultants super-charged, expensive TV ads that touched the focus group just right, you can get a few ads out a day.
One word: Macaca (photographed above).
Indeed, George Allen's ill-advised "welcome to America" to an opponent's videographer bears this out. However, we're not gyrating in the endzone just yet. Most of what is out there are those aforementioned well-coiffed 30-second spots re-purposed online. And, the lackluster online viewership of these ads is proof of their appropriateness for the medium.
It reminds us of the first wave of campaign Web sites in the mid-90's where just having a site was something notable. Now, having a cousin who knows how to post to YouTube is room to brag.
Still, there are exceptions and ways to peek into the future. Let's look...
New York Democrat Kirsten Gillbrand wins the Best Use of an Actor Known for Playing an Iconic Figure in a Made-for-the-Web Viral Ad award. (It's David Strarthairn, who played Edward R. Murrow in "Good Night, And Good Luck"). While, not great for TV, this ad is a fantastic way to raise awareness and money with the nationwide liberal NetRoots folks. Assuming that you saw the movie, it's powerful...
We suspect that the Walz video was posted by a supporter, and, indeed "supporter-generated content" is just as prevelant as official campaign video, if not more. (This was even more notable in our review of political activity on MySpace). For example, there is this humorous slant on former Redskin QB Heath Shuler's campaign for Congress...