GOP Debate Videos Range from Talking Head to TV Ad

Mitt Romney is hoping the Republican primary race is a mere bump in the road on his way to the party’s nomination, and a new video from the candidate indicates as much. Romney’s “Bump in the Road” piece is just one of several recent YouTube videos from GOP candidates posted around yesterday’s debate. And they run the gamut from traditional talking head web video to frenetic film trailer.

“I’m an American, not a bump in the road,” insist a series of people standing along a dusty desert road in a new 1:40 minute web video from Romney’s 2012 campaign. The concept is based on a suggestion made earlier this month by President Barack Obama that “There are always going to be bumps on the road to recovery.”

Perhaps most interesting about the Romney video is its finale. “Believe in America November 6, 2012,” reads a parting still image, referring to general election day next year. Posted on Sunday, the video has already been viewed over 110,000 times, far more than most of Romney’s other videos posted in previous weeks and months, and rivalling the more popular videos from the race’s most prolific YouTube campaigner, Tim Pawlenty.

Romney’s heavily-produced, TV ad quality video hit the web on Sunday, just before the CNN New Hampshire Primary debate in which he participated. While viewing the Romney video on YouTube, some have been served an ad for the newest official GOP candidate, Michele Bachmann. A promoted video unit pushes the Minnesota congressman’s campaign launch video, entitled plainly, “I’m Running for President.” Bachmann declared her candidacy during last night’s debate.

Romney’s desolate desert video – possibly shot during his National Call Day fundraising event in Las Vegas in May – does not feature the candidate at all. However, Bachmann’s is all Bachmann. The video takes a traditional tack, featuring a closeup of the candidate looking directly into the camera asking supporters to volunteer, donate, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and a yet-to-be-completed website.

Although the Romney camp has created videos featuring the former Massachusetts governor himself, the new video has a similar approach to his recent “Stand with Mitt” video. Both feature supporters of the candidate holding customizable signs that read, “[Blank] Stand with Mitt” and “I Believe in America’s [Blank].”

Thus far, the Bachmann talking head approach stands out in that it employs a classic style more common in campaign videos of recent election cycles. When Tim Pawlenty’s exploratory committee launched its first videos, for example, they made a splash for their action flick trailer quality. At the time, and even now, political observers suggest the high-energy video style is intended to counteract the candidate’s arguably bland persona.

On the flipside, the Bachmann camp may be using a traditional candidate-centric approach simply because she is photogenic, which some say engages the viewer without the need to rely on heart-racing music and imagery.

“The videos produced by the presidential candidates are almost emblematic of their own unique personalities,” said Brian Donahue, partner with Craft, a Republican cross media agency. “Romney’s appear very produced and highly professional. Pawlenty’s production focus is on volume and shear numbers. Bachmann’s is focused, almost solely, on her.”

The Pawlenty campaign continues to crank out similar videos on a weekly basis, including a short pre-debate video posted yesterday. While Pawlenty’s growing video collection typically features the candidate, there is almost always an unbalanced camera angle applied along with plenty of shaky but all-American images.

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