In a January debate, Newt Gingrich said he wished his campaign had been more Internet-based since it launched. A new online ad effort from Gingrich signals a shift in that direction. The ads, aimed at second amendment supporters in upcoming primary states, have Mitt Romney in the crosshairs for waffling on gun rights.
Meanwhile, today the campaign ran ads prompting people to support the former House Speaker in today’s Colorado and Minnesota caucuses and Missouri primary.
“You’re going to see a lot out of the Gingrich campaign online moving forward,” said Gingrich’s digital consultant Vincent Harris, noting the campaign is “willing to put the time and resources into making that occur.”
Harris recently partnered with the Gingrich team on a consultant level after leading digital for the now-defunct Rick Perry campaign.
A new video ad from Gingrich uses past footage of Romney to paint him as too moderate on gun rights. To help drive hunters and gun owners to the video, the campaign is running YouTube pre-roll video ads, display ads in Google’s network and Facebook ads targeting self-identified hunting enthusiasts and supporters of the right to bear arms.
“The ads are all being targeted in accordance with the primary calendar,” said Harris. Some ads are running in states where Gingrich is holding upcoming speaking events.
An arsenal of silly social media profile images available on RomneyGuns.com complements the hunter-aimed effort. In the images, a deer, a quail, “moderates,” and supposed PETA supporters – a man embracing a tiger – declare their support for Romney.
Gun rights have not been a major issue in the primary race so far, but as Harris put it, second amendment supporters “are a big part of the Republican party and a big voting bloc.” The issue garnered some headlines in relation to a Super Bowl spot featuring New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Tom Menino in support of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. That ad and subsequent media coverage of the issue in conjunction with the election is merely “a coincidence,” said Harris.
Though votes in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri today will have little impact on the race for the Republican nomination, the Gingrich camp is aiming ads to people in those states who have visited the campaign site, as well as to conservatives on Facebook and fans of Herman Cain and Perry; both former candidates have endorsed Gingrich. “We’re running aggressive online campaigns in each state,” said Harris.