Romney Sticks to Jobs Message in Anti-Obama Video Ads

  |  June 27, 2011   |  Comments

Complementary display ads take a cue from a 1978 British election ad.

romney-obamaisntworking6Mitt Romney is sticking to his jobs-and-economy message, both on the campaign trail and in online video and display ads launched Friday. At this early primary season stage, many candidates are using search and display along with social media messaging to build their lists and fundraise. Romney for President is coupling those action-driven goals with persuasion by adding video ads to the mix, and taking a cue from a 1978 British election ad.

On Friday, the former Massachusetts Governor stumped in Salt Lake City, blaming President Obama's policies for high food and gas prices and high unemployment rates. In February 2009 Obama suggested that if the economy hadn't turned around in three years he could be a one-term president. A new web video from Romney uses those words against him.

"Make it one term. Donate Today," states the video, which is running as in-stream video ad units, and can also be seen on Romney's campaign site and YouTube channel.

Although the video, at 30-seconds in length, is television-ready, it is not running as a TV ad, according to Zac Moffatt, Romney campaign digital director.

The video message is reinforced by display ads that pay homage to the iconic 1978 "Labour Isn't Working" poster created by Saatchi and Saatchi that helped propel Margaret Thatcher and the Tory Party to victory in Britain in '79. Like the Tory ad, the Romney version shows a line of unemployed citizens, coupling the evocative image with a simple "Obama Isn’t Working" tagline. The display ads and overlay ads (shown below) in the YouTube video link to Romney's donation page.

romney-videooverlay-obama6Pairing persuasive video with a request to donate or sign up isn't new, but until this election cycle the approach has been taken rarely, especially so early in the primary season. However, Romney as a candidate has shown a willingness to invest in experimental online advertising in the past. In October 2007 the Romney camp ran video ads featuring a TV spot intended to persuade Iowa voters, and entice them to click to "Join Team Mitt."

Obama's own campaign ran video from television spots inside display ads targeting Texas and Ohio voters before the March 2008 primaries in those states. The idea was to persuade voters as well as remind them to find their early-vote location.

By employing video created for the web that is not running on TV, the Romney campaign has gone a step further, reaffirming the increasing importance of web video in the 2012 presidential race.

"The goal really is just to have video be a large part of everything that we're doing," said Moffatt. The campaign hopes the video ads build its contact list. While ads are targeted across the country, there is additional geotargeting in states where Romney's supporter list is light.

Romney for President is backing the "He's Right" video with online ad dollars, but the campaign also has found video viewing success without using ads to drive traffic. Two days after posting its "Bump in the Road" video - another which employs Obama's own words to attack him on jobs and the economy - the clip had been viewed more than 110,000 times. Two weeks later, the video has been viewed more than 200,000 times. Moffatt said the campaign produces all of its videos in-house.

"Very little video requires us to put ad dollars behind it because we've built such a large community," said Moffatt.

This time around though, the fact that the video is intended to spur donations resulted in the ad buy. "As an organization, we're having a conversation with the President the more people who see it.... It's a message we felt [should be seen by] a larger audience."


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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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