NAA Campaign Misses Political Consultant Target

NAA-banner.gifI’m doin’ the Sunday morning politics thing early this weekend, browsing all the beltway insider sites to see who’s tracking what for the ’08 races. And don’t start with the stuff about how “the election’s more than a year and a half away,” ’cause that lament’s more tired than John Edwards’s blow-dryer.

Anyway, a small ad caught my eye on the homepage of Campaigns & Elections Magazine. It’s a Newspaper Association of America ad, touting paper sites as a good place to reach voters.

OK, so far, so good.

The thing is, the NAA is totally missing the point from there. The ad links to a brochure-ware style landing page with blurbs about how the trade group is helping newspapers reach out to political consultants and media buyers. Here’s a taste of the copy:
To a large degree, today’s consultants are broadcast-oriented, and simply not familiar with the opportunities newspaper advertising can offer their clients.

The Newspaper Association of America is working hard to change that. NAA has undertaken a multi-faceted campaign to educate the political consulting community about the advantages of newspaper advertising.
The page also links to a “computer animated presentation” that can be used to “to help market your newspaper to political advertisers.”

I don’t get it. While the ad is obviously targeting political consultants, and the info linked from the landing page is intended for that audience, the page itself is obviously aimed at newspaper publishers, not the people visiting sites like Campaigns & Elections. It’s as if Unilever created a detergent ad aimed at grocery store managers, but ran it during Oprah and Love Boat reruns on afternoon TV.

Compare the NAA ad to a banner on the same page promoting the Metro Iowa Newspaper Network. It links to a site offering specific data on the print and online audience demographics and reach of the publications in the network.

iowapaperad.gif

The NAA campaign should not only include a landing page offering similar information directly aimed at media buyers, it should be focused on how buyers can target key markets in Iowa and New Hampshire or other important caucus/primary states. Ads should link to a page explaining how buyers can easily purchase print and online newspaper media, especially focusing on the targeting capabilities of newspaper sites compared to wasteful radio and TV spends that hit audiences outside desired markets.

The irony here is that the NAA itself is not targeting its own campaign in an efficient manner. In an election that’s ramping up earlier than ever, and where more money than ever will be spent, and where online media strategy is an integral component of every serious campaign, newspapers have an opportunity to score significant online dollars from political advertisers.

If the NAA is going to make the effort to run a campaign pushing newspaper media, it needs to fight as hard as Hillary and Obama, and this doesn’t cut it.

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