Frank Strategies: The Blog

WSJ on Viral Political Vids
September 4, 2010, 9:43 am
Filed under: Online Video

There’s a very good piece in this morning’s Wall Street Journal about the growing use of online video in political campaigns. The article’s behind a firewall, but if you have a subscription you can read it here.

Here’s a key excerpt:

Nearly a third of adults who use the Internet watch political videos, according to the Pew Research Center. A Pew poll taken during the 2008 campaign found that 18- to 29-year-olds turn to YouTube for elections updates more often than candidate websites or online newspapers.

And a warning:

Consider Dale Peterson, a Republican running for Alabama agriculture commissioner.

Mr. Peterson, a first-time candidate, hired a director of apocalyptic sci-fi films to shoot an online video.

Riding horseback, cradling his Winchester rifle, Mr. Peterson barks out his indignation at the “thugs and criminals” in state government and his “dummy” of an opponent, coming across as both folksy and furious.

The video struck a nerve: It has been viewed online 1.7 million times.

Mr. Peterson was flooded with donations from online fans—but decidedly modest donations. About 70% of the $15,800 he raised in the weeks before the primary came from checks smaller than $100.

In the same period, rival Republican John McMillan quietly raised nearly seven times Mr. Peterson’s total, almost all from donations of $100 or more.

Mr. McMillan won.

Obviously, creative online video can’t be the only weapon in your campaign arsenal. But it should be one of them.