Perry Goes Negative in Twitter Ads

  |  January 3, 2012   |  Comments

Perry attacks Santorum in promoted tweets aimed at Iowans, and goes negative in Facebook ads, too.

Twitter is already an important platform for political discussion, and if Twitter ads from Rick Perry and Mitt Romney today are any indication, it could be significant for 2012 election advertising, too.

"To me Twitter is the newest and most different thing this cycle," said Vincent Harris, who's heading up Perry's digital campaign team. Harris spoke with ClickZ Politics this morning from the Google Hangout, a Google-sponsored press room at the Polk County Convention Complex in Iowa.

The Perry camp, hoping to leapfrog Rick Santorum - the latest GOP hopeful to surge in Iowa - is targeting ads to people in Iowa searching for Santorum on Twitter. In search results, Promoted Tweets from Perry link to a YouTube video featuring an anti-Santorum TV spot that pans Santorum for voting for earmarks while serving in congress. "Rick Santorum is unelectable," notes the promo tweet. Others promote; the microsite includes audio of the same ad message. The YouTube video today links to Perry's Iowa Action Center, which offers information about caucusing for Perry.


Searches for "Ron Paul," even by those outside Iowa, turned up a promoted tweet from Team Rick Perry, too. "Washington insiders have left us with debt and bailouts. Watch our new ad 'Fox' and join the campaign at," stated the tweet.

Early media buys from the Romney campaign led to a dearth of online video ad inventory in Iowa. "Video inventory is sold out," said Harris. "We are trying to get whatever pieces there are left." The campaign is using ad placements like the ones on Twitter to drive video views.

The Romney campaign locked up local Iowa inventory on YouTube months ago, and has a strong presence on Des Moines Register, as well as, a key news site covering the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire. Even President Barack Obama's reelection campaign bought up the homepage today with a message declaring, "The Republican candidates are leaving Iowa but their terrible plans are here to stay."

Perry's camp is also targeting ads promoting the earmarks message to Santorum fans on Facebook, and aiming Facebook ads at Romney and Gingrich fans that link to, a site showcasing a TV spot that paints them as political insiders.

In addition, Harris said the Perry team is targeting veterans through Google's network display ads, and aiming ads featuring Anita Perry, Rick's wife, to Republican women on Facebook.

The Romney camp was first among political advertisers to use Twitter advertising. The former Massachusetts governor is back today with a positive Promoted Tweet including a message that seems aimed at New Hampshire primary voters, and possibly the nation. "This is a time when we look beyond who we are today and ask who we will become tomorrow," noted the sponsored tweet, which appeared in search results for "Romney." It linked to a video featuring Romney delivering the same message during a speech in Bedford, New Hampshire.

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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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