Connecticut gubernatorial hopeful Dan Malloy has taken a still-rare approach to online advertising throughout the primary and general election season. Rather than simply go after signups and donations, the Democrat’s campaign has used Web ads to educate and persuade voters. And, as appears to be the trend this election, Malloy is investing in online video advertising.
Today and tomorrow, election day, his persuasive messaging will transition to include “Vote Tomorrow” and “Vote Today” messages.
In these final days, a renewable energy message dominates Malloy’s online ads. “As Governor, I’ll invest in green energy to create jobs. I believe Connecticut can take the lead on this new technology,” states the green tie-adorned candidate in a video running inside display units.
According to Michael Bassik, SVP, digital at Global Strategy Group, that video message “is running on more than 50 percent of the campaign’s display ad inventory.” He also indicated that over half of the online video inventory is in-banner; pre-roll ads are also running on YouTube. Global Strategy Group is handling online ads for the Malloy campaign.
“The campaign has always been a persuasion campaign except for on Facebook,” said Bassik, adding that the Dan Malloy for Governor team has used Facebook advertising to drive people to join his campaign. Facebook ads have been used to challenge supporters to help Malloy reach a liker goal. And Google search ads have pushed voters to sign up to volunteer. Now, ads on Facebook are driving traffic to view video spots on the campaign’s Facebook page.
During the primary season, the campaign focused more on building name recognition and educating voters about Malloy’s past accomplishments as mayor of Stamford, continued Bassik. Once polling indicated voters knew who Malloy was, the campaign shifted gears to focus almost exclusively on persuading voters to support the candidate, and reinforcing his platform ideas.
The educational persuasion effort included ads allowing people to choose from a drop down menu of issues like healthcare, taxes, transportation, environment, energy, and jobs, to learn more about the Malloy’s platform.
Bassik said the Internet has been a major media component of the campaign’s strategy, which he believes helped Malloy overtake Democratic primary opponent Ned Lamont, who reportedly outspent Malloy 4-1 in the primary race. Online ads helped Malloy “level the playing field,” said Bassik.
“This is not a token ad buy,” said Bassik of the online effort. “This is an ad buy that is part of the campaign’s integrated strategy.” The campaign has also used television, direct mail, and radio ads.
Malloy was poised to experiment with online persuasion, rather than focusing on more standard fundraising and signup calls to action. Because the candidate qualified for the state’s Citizens Election Program, he was required to abide by certain rules limiting contribution and expenditures, thus limiting his fundraising efforts.
In addition to the video spots, the campaign is running geotargeted display ads touting endorsements from various newspapers. For instance, Fairfield County residents are seeing more ads featuring an endorsement from The New York Times, said Bassik.
Other display ads aimed at voters throughout the state feature Malloy and his running mate Nancy Wyman. Ads have run on local paper sites like NorwichBulletin.com, New Haven Register, and local blogs, and have been geotargeted on The New York Times and The Huffington Post.
Today, the DanMalloy.com homepage declares, “Tuesday, we will make history,” and features a countdown clock, and links to find polling places and sign up to be reminded to vote tomorrow.
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