Bachmann Ads Pounce on Perry’s Vaccine Controversy

Michelle Bachmann’s digital team was ready to pounce on Rick Perry with Google ads during last night’s GOP debate. Banking on Bachmann’s denunciation of Perry’s decision to require Texas girls to be vaccinated against the virus causing cervical cancer, the online ad team is running ads in the hopes of building her supporter list.

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A Google search for “Rick Perry HPV,” – referring to Human papillomavirus – turns up Bachmann ads linking to a sign-up page featuring the same words the tea party Republican voiced during the CNN GOP debate: “To have innocent little 12-year old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat out wrong.”

Ads tell viewers to “Get The Facts on Rick Perry’s Mandated Vaccines for Texas Girls,” and “Get The Truth on Perry’s Support of HPV Vaccines. Get Facts.” The ads were placed by Bachmann’s digital agency, Campaign Solutions.

Sophisticated political campaigns have become more integrated in their online and offline messaging, as talking points spouted by candidates on the campaign trail are reflected in online display and video ad themes and copy. Bachmann’s campaign is among the more connected among the GOP hopefuls. For instance, Bachmann for President sent five members of its digital team to Iowa for the Iowa Straw Poll.

“They want a tighter coordination with on-the-ground operations and what we’re doing on the web,” said Eric Frenchman, chief Internet strategist at Campaign Solutions, a Republican consulting firm.

Frenchman also handled online ads for John McCain’s 2008 campaign, which – while criticized for a lack of digital integration – also employed candidate quips in online ads. During a 2008 presidential debate, John McCain mentioned a study costing taxpayers $3 million to study bear DNA as an example of pork-barrel spending. “I don’t know if that was a criminal issue or a paternal issue, but the fact is that it was $3 million of our taxpayers’ money,” said McCain during the debate.

As it turned out, his campaign had been running display ads incorporating the very same message – complete with a talking bear – for months before. The goal of those ads, like Bachmann’s anti-Perry ads, was to get people to sign a petition in order to build up the campaign’s supporter list.

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