Romney Co-opts Perry TV Buy with Search Ads

Mitt Romney wants to steal Rick Perry’s web thunder. Perry just launched a television campaign in Iowa touting his job creation experience as Texas Governor, and his pledge to create jobs for the country if elected President. However, though Perry is reportedly spending more than $230,000 on that TV buy, he’s not backing it up with search ads.

So, the Romney campaign is stepping in.

At the same time the Perry camp launched its Iowa TV spots, Romney launched a Google search ad campaign targeting Iowa voters. When people in Iowa search for Rick Perry, they’ll be served ads calling him “Career Politician Perry.” But they won’t see ads from Perry, whose campaign appears to be ignoring Google search advertising.

Ads ask, “Seen Perry’s New Ad?” and link to a microsite the Romney campaign launched before the most recent Republican debate. The site disputes facts presented in the new Perry ad, and includes a petition sign up that states, “If you agree career politicians got us into this mess and they simply don’t know how to get us out, sign the petition.”

The Romney campaign plans to run the Career Politician search ads wherever Perry runs TV ads in the hopes of capturing interest among primary voters and persuading them that Perry isn’t the right choice. “I think this is what an efficient campaign does,” said Romney Digital Director Zac Moffatt. “It’s what a campaign in 2012 is required to do.”

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Search, display, and other online advertising are typically employed by political campaigns early on in elections to drum up donations, and build the all-important supporter email list to be used throughout the campaign season for volunteer organizing, fundraising – and later voter mobilization.

In the case of Romney’s recent ads, he’s building his supporter list as well as potentially persuading primary voters that Perry isn’t all he’s cracked up to be.

The Career Politician site is one of two microsites the Romney camp has built to target key contenders. The other is ObamaIsntWorking.com, which features several videos blaming President Barack Obam’s policies for the struggling economy, and highlighting voter disillusion with the lack of jobs. That site is also doubling as a way to generate signups.

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