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The highlight for me, is at the 1:00 minute mark of this 2:09 minute web ad, when John King (CNN) relates his personal story as a 47 percenter. Here's my transcription of the ad:

VOICEOVER: The Romney campaign is in crisis mode, scrambling to explain a secretly recorded tape where Romney tells wealthy donors nearly half of all Americans see themselves as victims.

BRIAN WILLIAMS (NBC): He talked about citizens who see themselves as victims; pay no income taxes. He went on to say his job was not to worry about those people.

JOHN KING (CNN): What he said in that speech was that all of them don't pay taxes. All of them are victims. All of them want free healthcare--think they're entitled to free housing. He essentially smeared everyone.


It suggests that he really doesn't know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A. Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security and Medicare?

ANCHOR (CNN): If Mr. Romney is so upset that so many Americans are not paying income taxes, does that mean taxes on middle class or lower middle class Americans will go up?

KING (CNN): A lot of Americans of all income stripes have struggled the last few years and the risk for Governor Romney is that it is insulting to them. As a kid, my family was on food stamps for a few years when my dad got sick.

We didn't feel entitled and we weren't victims. And my father was actually pretty embarrassed about the whole thing. But in the end my mother was grateful because she was able to feed her kids.

DAVID GERGEN (with former Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer looking on) (CNN): It was almost oafish for someone who has a bank account in Cayman Islands, in order to reduce taxes, to criticize someone in need.

ANNE KORNBLUT (WASHINGTON POST): It's going to reverberate with working class white people who don't pay taxes. It's going to reverberate with women. It's going to reverberate with military families. I don't think there's any group that's not going to in some way be--either hear about what he said or see themselves somehow reflected in it.

GERGEN (CNN):  It's not just this comment. It's a pattern. It's a series over time. Americans tend to create a circle in their mind of people inside that circle who would make a credible, comfortable president; someone they could see in that office and they would feel comfortable with. I think this pattern of statements is increasingly placing Mitt Romney outside that circle for a growing number of Americans.

Ad ends with:

Mitt Romney:
Outside the circle.

What good are web ads anyway?

The short answer is you can reach people who don't watch television or follow politics and you can get your message out unfiltered, through social media, while saving a lot of money.

With campaigns moving increasingly online, video is now a core element of their thinking at all levels of US politics, from the presidential race down. The medium has the advantage of being popular, highly accessible and easy to share through social networks.

According to a study by the Pew research center, video played a role in informing almost a third of voters about the 2010 mid-term elections.[...]The other great advantage is that video allows candidates to run in effect their own media networks in the pursuit of an ambition that has long been the Holy Grail of politicians – bypassing the media. Through YouTube they can skirt around the likes of NBC News or NPR – or the Guardian for that matter – and deliver their message, as they would want it to be delivered, directly to voters.

Take for example the 17-minute documentary The Road We've Traveled put out this year by the Obama re-election campaign. It is narrated by Tom Hanks and directed by Davis Guggenheim, the Oscar-winning director of An Inconvenient Truth.

"Campaigns have always wanted to bypass the media, they just haven't had the technology to do it in the past," said Peter Daou, who led Hillary Clinton's digital operation in her 2008 bid for the presidential nomination. "There is a sense among politicians that campaigns can replace reporters and media outlets."

Daou believes that television and the press still ultimately hold the upper hand – TV and press commentators can provide a filter for understanding political messages that no amount of direct marketing from Obama or Romney HQ can escape. But that doesn't appear to be stopping them from trying.

Web ads are for supporters not undecideds:

“YouTube videos are more positive than TV advertisements because they are more narrowly targeted to the highly informed, highly motivated, usually supportive people who view a candidate’s online videos.  Informing and inspiring supporters is a task well suited to YouTube videos.”

Salmond added, “Attacking an opponent, however, is more effectively done on TV, because weak supporters of a candidate’s opponent – the usual target for negative advertising – are more likely to watch the candidate’s TV spot than to watch the candidate’s YouTube video.  

This bifurcation between a sunny YouTube presence and a mean-spirited television ad campaign is stronger in US-style winner-take-all elections than in European-style proportional elections, and has major consequences for the character of campaigning and how candidates are seen by voters.”

Source: Political Video Marketing Lessons: 2012 Presidential Candidates Offer New Twist on The Last Hurrah
©2012 ReelSEO

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