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Below is an incredible re-enactment of what occurs in the comment thread whenever an Organizing for America web ad gets diaried at Daily Kos:


Commenter:It would have been nice if the diarist had mentioned that it's a WEB ad. The people that need to see it are not going to see it. By the way, while I thought the ad was good overall, not a Game Changer, I would have used entirely different music and employed a font with more gravitas.

Diarist: Sorry! I'll change the headline! I just thought the ad did such a good job of DE-INTESTINING Mitt that everybody should see it!

This scene has occurred fairly often throughout the election cycle, so I thought somebody brilliant and remarkably good-looking (in very dim light) with an okay singing voice (if you're flexible about what on-key means), ought to do a diary about the purpose of these OFA web ads.

Let's go back in time, to the launching of the OFA Truth Team and read about why it was launched.

FOX News by way of the New York Post reports:

CHICAGO -- The Obama reelection campaign on Monday announced a new "Truth Team," whose goal is to drum up support from online supporters and grassroots activists to help promote President Barack Obama and challenge Republican attacks.

This is the second move the campaign has taken in recent weeks to try to balance the influence of so-called super PACs. Last week, Obama reversed a prior decision and told supporters to back an Obama-aligned super PAC run by former White House staffers. Previously, the president had decried the influence of the PACs.

Obama For America announced the move, which includes four new separate websites:,, and

The re-election team is calling it a "new national effort by President Obama supporters online and on the ground to promote the president's achievements, respond to attacks on his record and hold the eventual Republican nominee accountable."

The sites will include fact checks, online tools for social networking and videos and resources for activists.

So there we have it.

These ads are primarily for supporters. They are intentionally preaching to the choir. They want the choir to share, diary, Facebook and tweet them. They also want to engage the media and awaken them from their nap long enough to talk about a few key points in the ad.

So these ads are not likely to be cut down to 30 seconds and they certainly won't air on television. They are not intended to.

Rob Salmond at the Brookings Institute's Center for Technology Innovation did a white paper on this Youtube campaign tool entitled, "MeTube: Political Advertising, Election
Campaigns, and YouTube."

This study relies on detailed analysis of 3,118 YouTube videos uploaded during election campaigns by 72 parties across 12 countries.

All told, these videos were viewed almost 44 million times.

Here are the observations that emerged from this study:

Specifically, the audience for YouTube advertisements is younger, richer, more educated, more politically interested, and more partisan than the population at large.

This tendency has been confirmed in studies about online video specifically and
online political engagement more generally. Writing in 2003 about political websites
as a whole, Bruce Bimber and Richard Davis found:

“...the audience of any particular campaign Web site is likely to be overwhelmingly composed of knowledgeable, interested, partisan supporters of the candidate.”

So here's the bottom line on web ads.

Web ads are for supporters and the media. And according to the Brookings Institute's own analysis, if you want to be younger, richer and smarter keep watching and sharing them!



Web ads are

16%6 votes
63%23 votes
19%7 votes

| 36 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (19+ / 0-)

    The choice of our lifetime: Mitt Romney, It Takes A Pillage or President Barack Obama, Forward Together.

    by FiredUpInCA on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 11:15:07 AM PDT

  •  Duh! (7+ / 0-)

    I'm seventy and I knew that.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 11:19:56 AM PDT

  •  Something you can email to an undecided... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    COwoman, wwjjd, FiredUpInCA

    Hard to do that with a TV ad.

    You missed the boat.


    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 11:24:32 AM PDT

  •  I love this article.... (6+ / 0-)

    I'll bet if you changed the title it might get more eyes.

    Even putting quotes around the title would be a better indicator of your support for web ads.

    I think they are very important. Most of my 17 year old daughters friends only see the news through social media. They pass it around and talk about it. Some of them are ready to vote because they will be 18 by election day. This is a very good way to get to the youth/first time voters.

    You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. -Mae West

    by COwoman on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 11:26:28 AM PDT

  •  I dont' know if this is true. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, wwjjd, polecat

    It has some of the same taste as the polls which were once conducted on land telephone lines only, when a lot of Americans, especially the young, don't even have land lines and do all their  phoning through cells. The results shifted somewhat when pollsters started doing that.

    This is part of the same thing. The young in particular spend lots and lots of time on the web and get a lot of their news from it, rather than seeing ads on the commercial blocks of cable and over the air TV, especially when ads are bought for the demographics of those particular media. If you want to get the young, you gotta go where they can be found.

    •  I completely get your point Christy1947 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      Here are the highlights from the Pew study on which the Brookings paper based its claims:

      And in 2008, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey of the American population asking about their engagement with politics online.

      Their data show that the group of people who engaged in some form with online political videos (whether
      they were campaign commercials, debates, or candidate interviews) was:

      • Seven to nine years younger, on average, than the population at large;

      • Around 50 percent likely to report an income above $50,000 (the sample average was 37 percent);

      • Around 0.6 points higher in educational achievement than the general population on a seven point scale ranging from no formal education through to PhD;

      • Around half as likely as the general population to report low levels of political interest;

      • Around half as likely as the general population to report partisan indecision.

      All of these differences are statistically significant. And in other countries, the differences are likely even more stark, because the U.S. has a much higher reported use of the internet for political purposes than do most other democracies.

      (In my own dataset, 38 million of the 44 million video views in my sample came from the 2008
      U.S. presidential campaign even though the U.S. population accounts for 39 percent of the total population of the countries in the sample.)

      While consumers and disseminators of political web ads may skew younger than the average population, that is not the same thing as saying that this interaction is exclusive to or dominated by young people.

      You're more likely to find more young people on X-Box than a candidate's campaign channel.

      Of the 2,000 or so undecided voters that tuned into last night's presidential debate via Xbox Live, 51 percent thought that President Barack Obama's overall performance was better than former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, 17 percent declared Romney the winner, while 32 percent remained unsure as to who outclassed who.

      How do you reach the 32 percent who still are undecided on something as straightfoward as 'who won the second debate?,' when we have about 18 days until election day.

      Where have they been and where do they go to get help in their decision-making process? How do we reach them?

      The choice of our lifetime: Mitt Romney, It Takes A Pillage or President Barack Obama, Forward Together.

      by FiredUpInCA on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 11:52:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One thing that is being lost here, for those (4+ / 0-)

    residing outside of the USA, we do not get the TV ads and therefore web ads work for us.

  •  One other important factor. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, Delilah, Eric Nelson

    Putting ads on Youtube is free.  This could be a way of test-marketing ideas.

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 11:47:03 AM PDT

  •  OFA, Democrats, and MoveOn are all posting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    too many times and in ways that talk dumb and down.  

    Whoever is in charge of the campaign needs to rein these all in and release them more sparingly and with more positive messages.

    The ads I see annoy the heck out of me and I support the Democrats, Obama, and activist organizations in general.

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