DNC Aims for Hispanic Voter Registration with Iraq Message

  |  October 3, 2008   |  Comments

August Web ads from the Democratic National Committee were part of broader efforts by the organization and Barack Obama’s campaign.

ClickZ_Campaign08_katefinal.jpg "¿Estas Registrado Para Votar?"

It means "Are You Registered to Vote?" and it's what the Democratic National Committee asked in ads it ran on the Web in August. They appeared to be the first Spanish language display ads placed during this -- and possibly any -- U.S. presidential election. Mimicking English language ads with an Iraq-related message, the DNC ads are part of the committee's -- and its presidential candidate's -- efforts to reach out to niche groups including Hispanics and Blacks.

During July and August, the campaign for Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama hammered Web users with hundreds of millions of online display ads enticing them to join the campaign. A smaller percentage of those ads featured a voter registration message.


Instead, the DNC led the online voter registration drive, running about 17 million display ads, all aiming to get people to register online to vote, according to information provided by Nielsen Online AdRelevance.

"Irak," flashed the Spanish ads, which went on to remind viewers that 4,000 U.S. casualties have resulted from the War in Iraq. "$600 Billion Dollars Later America Is Less Safe," the English version declared, suggesting people click to find out if they're registered to pull the lever in November.

The Obama camp itself certainly hasn't neglected its own Web appeal to Spanish speakers, though. A Google search for "Registrado Para Votar" turns up a sponsored link telling users they can register to vote for Obama in three minutes online.

Blacks were also targets of the DNC voter registration campaign this summer. Many of the organization's voter registration ads appeared below links to Obama's "Featured Profile" on BlackPlanet.com, according to AdRelevance. In all, Obama's campaign ran around 400 million display ads each month in July and August.

MoveOn.org also backed up Obama's campaign in July and August with ads promoting free Obama bumper stickers and buttons, as well as Obama/Biden stickers. "No strings attached. Get Your Free Sticker," read some of the ads.

The bulk of Obama's ads have changed very little throughout the election season. They almost always feature his smiling visage alongside a request to "Join Us."


Ad images provided by The Media Trust Company

John McCain's ads stand in stark contrast. Though several different ads placed by the Republican hopeful's campaign do include his image, many do not. Instead, they pounce on Obama, picturing him alongside photos of Cuba's Fidel Castro and Iran President Ahmadinejad, or suggesting he's "Not Ready To Lead."

"It's Great To Have 300 Advisors. But Only One Person Can Make The Tough Decision," notes one ad that ran in August. Another displays photos of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, asking who the "Biggest Celebrity in the World" is. "The Answer May Surprise You," notes the ad, which links to content portraying Obama as a celebrity. None of these ads make mention of McCain, besides the fine print stating they were paid for by his campaign.

McCain's July and August ads also push his populist economic message, focusing mainly on exorbitant gas prices. "Have gas prices turned your vacation into a mirage?" inquires one ad. "Do gas prices have you stuck in park?" asks another. Most entice the viewer to sign an online petition.

McCain placed far fewer display ad impressions online than Obama: around 16.5 million in July and 58.5 million in August, according to AdRelevance data. A large portion of those August ads affirmed the message that became the mantra of the Republican National Convention, held in early September. "Country First Always," noted ads featuring the Arizona Senator's image, stars and stripes flowing in the background. They culminated with the suggestion that supporters "Donate Today."

Select August 2008 Ads by
Democratic National Committee
Ad Copy Call to Action Estimated Number of Impressions
"Iraq 4,000 U.S. Casualties 60,000 Injured/Wounded $600 Billion Dollars Later America Is Less Safe. Are You Registered To Vote? " "Click Here To Find Out" 7,896,000
"Notice: If you're not registered, you can't vote. The official registration form is now online. Vote" "Register Now" 6,079,000
"Remember: You can't vote if you're not registered Vote" "Register Now" 1,567,000
"I'm registering to vote because my job depends on it. [store sign] Sorry We're Closed. Register to vote for a strong economy. Yes We're Open" "Register Now" 1,277,000
"Sick of High Gas Prices? Don't Get Mad. Get Registered. Register to vote for Barack Obama and Other Candidates For Change." "Register Today" 54,000
"Vote" "Register Now" 48,000
"Irak 4,000 Americanos Muertos. 60,000 Heridos. $600 Mil Milliones Gastados. Estas Registrado Para Votar?" "Haz Click Aqui Para Verificario" 11,000
"Register to vote for Barack Obama and Other Candidates For Change. To Vote In Ohio You Need to Be Registered By October 6" "Register Today" 2,000

July 2008 Ads by
John McCain 2008
Ad Copy Call to Action Estimated Number of Impressions
"Is it OK to unconditionally meet with Anti-American foreign leaders?" "Yes/No" 9,543,000
"One man has the experience One man has the courage One man has our trust John McCain for President." "Join Our Team" 1,878,000
"Support a leader we can believe in. John McCain." "Join Our Team" 1,301,000
Gas Prices Too High? Gasoline [prices] Arm Leg First Born Support John McCain's Moratorium" "Sign the Petition." 864,000
"John McCain Invest in Victory" "Donate $25" 666,000
"Your Vote + John McCain = A Promising Future" "Learn More" 618,000
"Have gas prices turned your vacation into a mirage?" "Sign Our Petition" 272,000
"Are you being Robbed at the pump?" "Take the Survey" 264,000
"John McCain supports judges who will properly interpret the Constitution and not legislate social policy from the bench" "Do You: Agree, Disagree" 261,000
"Do gas prices have you stuck in park?" "Sign Our Petition" 202,000
"Barack Obama picks up another major endorsement. Fidel Castro thinks he is 'the most advanced candidate' " "Learn More" 184,000
"McCainomics? John McCain's Economic Plan" "Learn More" 117,000
"You Need Help John McCain's Economic Plan Immediate Help for American Families" "Learn More" 90,000
"Three million of your tax dollars to study the DNA of bears in Montana. I don't know if that's a paternity issue or a criminal issue." "Stop Pork Barrel Spending Sign the Petition" 125,000
"$74 million tax dollars for peanut storage costs? That's Nuts! Outraged by Pork?" "Sign the Petition" 51,000
"You Earned It Shouldn't You Keep It? Immediate Economic Help John McCain's Economic Plan." "Learn More" 46,000
"Courageous Service. Experienced Leadership. Bold Solutions. Watch Courageous Service Video." "Play Video" 32,000
"Don't Hope for More Energy. Vote for It. McCain." "Watch the Video" 4,000

August 2008 Ads by
John McCain 2008
Ad Copy Call to Action Estimated Number of Impressions
"Country First Always. McCain" "Donate Today" 11,479,000
"Have gas prices turned your vacation into a mirage?" "Sign Our Petition" 9,592,000
"Do gas prices have you stuck in park?" "Sign Our Petition" 9,558,000
"Is it OK to unconditionally meet with Anti-American foreign leaders?" "Yes/No" 5,067,000
McCain Palin" "Learn More" 4,580,000
Gas Prices Too High? Gasoline [prices] Arm Leg First Born Support John McCain's Moratorium" "Sign the Petition." 3,476,000
"Obama's Energy Plan. Get Your Tire Gauge Today!" "Click Here" 3,287,000
Biggest Celebrity in the World? [photos of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears] The Answer May Surprise You" "Learn More" 2,541,000
"One man has the experience One man has the courage One man has our trust John McCain for President." "Join Our Team" 2,164,000
"Support a leader we can believe in. John McCain." "Join Our Team" 1,732,000
"John McCain Invest in Victory" "Donate $25" 1,504,000
"Your Vote + John McCain = A Promising Future" "Learn More" 1,094,000
"America Needs a Leader We Can Trust To Make The Tough Decision Obama Is Not Ready." "Learn More" 440,000
"Foreign Policy? Taxes? National Security? Obama Not Ready To Lead." "Learn More" 429,000
"Three million of your tax dollars to study the DNA of bears in Montana. I don't know if that's a paternity issue or a criminal issue." "Stop Pork Barrel Spending Sign the Petition" 390,000
"It's Great To Have 300 Advisors. But Only One Person Can Make The Tough Decision. Obama Not Ready To Lead." "Learn More" 386,000
"John McCain supports judges who will properly interpret the Constitution and not legislate social policy from the bench" "Do You: Agree, Disagree" 355,000
"Barack Obama picks up another major endorsement. Fidel Castro thinks he is 'the most advanced candidate' " "Learn More" 175,000
"America Needs a Leader We Can Trust To Make The Tough Decision." "Learn More" 83,000
"You Need Help John McCain's Economic Plan Immediate Help for American Families" "Learn More" 68,000
"Are you being Robbed at the pump?" "Take the Survey" 68,000
"$74 million tax dollars for peanut storage costs? That's Nuts! Outraged by Pork?" "Sign the Petition" 31,000
"You Earned It Shouldn't You Keep It? Immediate Economic Help John McCain's Economic Plan." "Learn More" 25,000
"Courageous Service. Experienced Leadership. Bold Solutions. Watch Courageous Service Video." "Play Video" 30,000
"McCainomics? John McCain's Economic Plan" "Learn More" 24,000

Select July 2008 Ads by
Obama for America
Ad Copy Call to Action Estimated Number of Impressions
"Obama '08 Visit the Official Camapign Website" "Join Us" 366,161,000
"Obama '08 Change We Can Believe In Help Elect Barack Obama President of the United States Visit the Official Camapign Website" "Join Us" 21,265,000
"Help Elect Barack Obama President of the United States. Visit the Official Campaign Website." "Join Us" 20,524,000
"Help Elect Barack Obama President of the United States. Visit the Official Campaign Website Now." "Join Us" 3,445,000
"Barack Obama for President. Visit the Official Campaign Website." "Join Us" 2,840,000
"Obama '08 Help Elect Barack Obama President of the United States. Visit the Official Campaign Website." "Join Us" 2,281,000
"Visit the official campaign website Help Elect Barack Obama President Sign Up for Invitations to Campaign Events" "Join Us" 653,000
"Obama '08 Barack Obama for President. Visit the Official Campaign Website." "Join Us" 541,000
"Barack Obama for President Visit the Official Campaign Website Sign Up for Invitations to Campaign Events" "Join Us" 299,000
"Visit the official campaign website Sign Up for Invitations to Campaign Events" "Join Us" 295,000
"Meet Barack Obama. Attend a Campaign Event Near You" "Join Us" 232,000
"Change We Can Believe In Help Elect Barack Obama President of the United States Visit the Official Camapign Website" "Join Us" 184,000
"Meet Barack Obama Sign Up for Invitations to Campaign Events" "Join Us" 101,000
"Sign Up for Invitations to Campaign Events" "Join Us" 33,000
"Obama '08. Visit the Official Campaign Website." "Join Us" 95,000
"Visit the Official Barack Obama Website Now." "Join Us" 36,000
"Visit the Official Campaign Website Help Elect Barack Obama President Sign Up for Invitations to Barack Obama Campaign Events" "Join Us" 26,000
"Concerned about Social Security?" "Learn How the Obama Plan Will Impact Your Retirement" 23,000

Select August 2008 Ads by
Obama for America
Ad Copy Call to Action Estimated Number of Impressions
"Help Elect Barack Obama President of the United States. Visit the Official Campaign Website Now." "Join Us" 277,083,000
"Obama '08 Visit the Official Campaign Website" "Join Us" 62,563,000
"Obama '08 Change We Can Believe In Help Elect Barack Obama President of the United States Visit the Official Camapign Website" "Join Us" 19,779,000
"Help Elect Barack Obama President. Visit the Official Barack Obama Website Now." "Join Us" 16,854,000
"Obama '08 and Someone Who Will Be Obama's Vice President? Be the First To Know Obama's VP Via Email." "Join Us" 4,895,000
"Help Elect Barack Obama President of the United States. Visit the Official Campaign Website." "Join Us" 4,804,000
"Obama Biden" "Join The Movement" 4,784,000
"Help Elect Barack Obama President. Visit the Official Barack Obama Campaign Website Now." "Join Us" 2,990,000
"Change We Can Believe In Help Elect Barack Obama President of the United States. Visit the Official Campaign Website." "Join Us" 1,925,000
"Change We Can Believe In Barack Obama for President Visit the Official Camapign Website" "Join Us" 1,904,000
"Obama '08 Help Elect Barack Obama President Visit the Official Camapign Website" "Join Us" 1,465,000
"Visit the Official Barack Obama Website Now." "Join Us" 864,000
"Ohio Get Your Free Ohio for Obama Bumper Sticker." "Free Bumper Sticker" 614,000
"Get to know Barack Obama at local campaign events." "Join Us" 546,000
"Obama Biden" "Donate Now" 429,000
"Vote" "Register Now" 371,000
"Barack Obama Accepts the Democratic Nomination" "Join the Movement" 277,000
"Help Elect Barack Obama President Visit the Official Campaign Website Sign Up for Invitations to Campaign Events" "Join Us" 250,000
"Meet Barack Obama Attend a Campaign Event Near You" "Join Us" 208,000
"Notice If you are not registered you can't vote The official registration form is now online Vote" "Register Now" 131,000
"Be the First To Know Obama's VP Via Email." "Join Us" 105,000
"Ohio Get Your Free Ohio for Obama Bumper Sticker." "Get It Now" 38,000
"Obama '08 Barack Obama for President Visit the Official Camapign Website" "Join Us" 26,000
"Visit the Official Campaign Website Help Elect Barack Obama President Sign Up for Invitations to Campaign Events" "Join Us" 19,000
"Sign Up for Invitations to Campaign Events" "Join Us" 12,000
"Change We Can Believe In Barack Obama President of the United States. Visit the Official Campaign Website. Sign Up For Invitations to Campaign Events." "Join Us" 11,000
"Meet Barack Obama Sign Up for Invitations to Campaign Events" "Join Us" 26,000
"Obama '08. Visit the Official Campaign Website." "Join Us" 73,000
"Be the First To Know Obama's VP Via Email." "Join Us" 15,000
"Barack Obama for President Visit the Official Campaign Website Sign Up for Invitations to Campaign Events" "Join Us" 22,000
"Concerned about Social Security?" "Learn How the Obama Plan Will Impact Your Retirement" 10,000
"Barack for Obama President Visit the Official Campaign Website." "Join Us" 14,000

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.

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