The Republican primary candidate for NY Governor turned a simple Google tool for making search-based videos into a contest.
Political campaigns often lag behind corporate marketers when it comes to exploiting new media tools, but Rick Lazio's campaign for New York Governor is flipping that script. The campaign has taken Search Stories, a simple Google tool for generating search-based videos, and turned it into a contest for supporters.
"[F]ollow the steps to make your own web ad that shows why we can't afford four more years of the Status Cuomo in New York!" declares the contest page, linked from a custom tab on Lazio's Facebook page.
Lazio is in the final stretch of a somewhat tight GOP primary race; the election is next Tuesday, September 14. Still, as evinced by the Make Your Own Web Ad contest, his campaign messaging online and off has focused on attacking the Democratic nominee - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, rather than going after self-funded conservative Carl Paladino, a dark horse GOP primary hopeful who's gained prominence in the polls.
"Does four more years of the Status Cuomo in Albany sound appealing to you? We didn’t think so!" says the contest page. The effort launched September 3.
The contest employs Google Search Stories, a tool introduced last year that allows people to turn their search activity into short videos, complete with canned music - from comedy- to horror-themed tunes. The sample video posted by "Team Lazio" uses one of three horror instrumentals. Searches used in the sample include "Andrew Cuomo Father of the Subprime Crisis?" and "Bobby Duffy Double Dip?" - a reference to Cuomo's running mate Robert Duffy, who collects a police pension in addition to his current earnings as Rochester's Mayor.
Zac Moffatt, partner at Targeted Victory, the digital consulting firm working with the Lazio campaign, said he has wanted to use the Search Stories tool for a political campaign for some time, but Lazio's was "a natural fit," in part because of the campaign's dedication to using digital media. The Lazio 2010 campaign, for example, has a director of new media, which is still not always a given even in statewide campaigns. The campaign has also spent on online advertising for months to generate donations.
"This is an easy way for people to give us feedback and be part of the conversation," said Matthias Reynolds, Lazio's director of new media, about the video contest.
To create a Search Stories video, people enter several search terms that will generate interesting Web, image, or map results. The tool automatically generates close-up images of results pages, presented in the same order as the video creator enters the search terms. The goal is to craft the list of searches in such a way that the resulting video tells a story. From there, creators can upload the video to YouTube.
The Lazio campaign has posted its own Web videos throughout the primary season, including a recent one supporting an ongoing effort to entice voters to give $29 to "Break the Cycle" of Cuomo's 29 years in politics.
The contest "has the potential to be very viral," said Moffatt. "It's amazing to me that no one's [used Search Stories]" for political campaigns before, he added.
The campaign will accept Web ad submissions through September 19, and then will choose its top five. Those five will be posted and voted on through September 26. The following day, the campaign will post the three winning videos, promoting them through Facebook and Twitter.
Follow ClickZPolitics on Twitter at @ClickZPolitics
Download ClickZ's free
Digital Political Campaigns 101
On the heels of a fantastic event in New York City, ClickZ Live is taking the fun and learning to Toronto, June 23-25. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live offers an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Early Bird Rates expire May 29. Register today and save!
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.
Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
This Magic Quadrant examines leading digital commerce platforms that enable organizations to build digital commerce sites. These commerce platforms facilitate purchasing transactions over the Web, and support the creation and continuing development of an online relationship with a consumer.
Paid Search in the Mobile Era
Google reports that paid search ads are currently driving 40+ million calls per month. Cost per click is increasing, paid search budgets are growing, and mobile continues to dominate. It's time to revamp old search strategies, reimagine stale best practices, and add new layers data to your analytics.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
12pm ET/9am PT
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
12pm ET/9am PT