As people marvel over the latest web video from the Herman Cain campaign, they may be surprised that the campaign appears to have invested tens of thousands of dollars in other more-produced web videos. Videos of cowboys clutching flowers and a music video featuring a country rock tune called "The Herman Cain Train" have floated around the web for months and have been viewed several more times than the campaign's latest video featuring Cain's cigarette-inhaling chief of staff.
This year, the Cain campaign spent $175,000 with Little Bonanza Productions, a California-based film production firm, according to Federal Election Commission reports. Little Bonanza produced "Border," a 2007 film intended to highlight failures of the current U.S. approach to border security.
It is not clear whether the same firm has produced Cain's more elaborate videos, including one that takes place on the set of a fictitious western movie entitled, "He Carried Yellow Flowers," which features character actor Nick Searcy of "MoneyBall" and "Cast Away" fame. However, few other expenditures in the campaign's FEC reports point to web video production services spending. The Cain campaign has not responded to inquiries from ClickZ.
In the "Yellow Flowers" video, which has been viewed more than 110,000 times since posted in late August, Searcy plays an actor in a western who appears to question a focus on the fact that Cain is African-American, asking, "Why's it always gotta be about color?" He later mocks teleprompters - a staple of the Barack Obama administration - and community organizing - a previous job of the President's which Republicans have maligned since he ran in 2008.
Cain is "a real leader" who "provided real jobs for real people," says Searcy in the video, during a break from filming the campy, fake flick.
A much shorter video featuring a closeup of Cain's chief of staff Mark Block has attracted lots of buzz in recent days, mainly for the final moments during which Block puffs on a cigarette. Most likely the relatively raw video was shot by internal campaign staff. That video has garnered around 82,000 views as of around 4pm today since launching October 19.
Cain's most viewed video yet is his "music video," a four-minute long clip which intersperses shots of Cain and his supporters endorsing the candidate, with shots of the band playing, "The Herman Cain Train."
"He's a true son of the South," declares the country crooners. The video has been seen nearly 360,000 times since May 30.
Other videos also are intended to appeal to small-town, blue collar, and rural voters by taking a down-to-earth approach, such as one featuring Kent Short, a California butcher who backs Cain. The video is reminiscent of many produced by Mitt Romney’s campaign. Those spots feature small business owners and workers who are disgruntled with today's economy, rather than the candidate himself.
View more of Herman Cain’s produced web videos in ClickZ's collection of produced videos from the 2012 campaigns.
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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.
March 19, 2014