Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hitting back with YouTube

This story from south of the border is a great example of how parties in Canada can use viral video and Web 2.0 as a rapid response to political debates. Best of all for Liberals, it doesn’t cost anything. Wonder if we’ll see this sort of thing up here in the next campaign:

It probably seemed like a slam-dunk campaign ad: use some stock footage of kids sleeping soundly, have a gravelly-voiced actor do a scary-movie voiceover about having an experienced president in the White House, and bam -- Hillary Clinton gets a leg up on Barack Obama and inches closer to the presidency.

The only problem, however, is that the Clinton campaign chose some stock footage that had a young girl named Casey Knowles in it -- and Casey just happens to have grown into an 18-year-old Obama supporter. She saw the ad and started talking to the media about how she didn't agree with the "politics of fear" that the Democratic hopeful was using.

Not surprisingly, the Obama campaign was all over this idea like white on rice. You could almost hear the cheers of glee echoing from the other Democratic front-runner's campaign HQ when they saw the reports about Casey, and they quickly put together their own ad using the teenaged supporter. It showed up on YouTube on Friday and already has almost half a million views.

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Anonymous said...

Yeah this video is right on.

I can't believe they tinted it blue. It's almost as if Clinton knew it was a democratic ad and she used blue, or used blue to show it was night time, or used blue to convey calmness.

And they used a scratchy voice that sounded like any other movie voice over actor? That is scary. At least they didn't tint it grey, and have someone with an accent do the talking, I would have been crippled with fear.

Without the sarcasm, it wasn't scary, and who cares if a girl, whose parents sold her image as a stock photo, votes for Obama over Hillary. That's what differentiates actors and supporters. And who would ever think a 8 year old who was in this ad was a Clinton supporter?

This ad has no reason to fall back on. It's not good. Why not criticize her for copying the red phone ad of Mondale? Why not criticize her for her experience being just 8 years as first lady?

I don't see much value in this ad whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

It should also be noted the YouTube clip you suggested didn't cost anything was actually created by the Obama campaign itself. You can see the profesional Obama animation at the end, and the fact that it was posted by the official campaign, not to mention being on its website. I don't know what would induce the understanding that it was free considering everything considered would point in the other direction.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Scott, I never said it wasn't produced by the Obama campaign. Indeed, I was talking about this being an example of how parties can use video to hit back. And how much do you think it cost them to put together this little video? And time? Very little.

Anonymous said...

Upon looking at the full story it does state the Obama campaign "quickly put together their own ad" so it was mentioned. However the words you contributed gave me a different impression. You said "use" instead of "making," you said "didn't cost anything" instead of "cheap" or "inexpensive."

So I admit I did not initially see that comment in the second to last sentence you quoted and there was a misinterpretation due to certain words that were chosen. This misinterpretation and the possible perception of an independently produced YouTube ad is not the main, or even a criticism at all, it is just a note.

Anonymous said...


Red Tory said...

If the Clinton campaign wanted to make a stink about this, they'd probably be on good grounds for doing so. This young lady (or her parents, more accurately), signed a contract with Getty Images waiving rights to use of the stock footage when it was taken. It seems a bit rich to now be criticizing the manner in which it was employed. It would be like a stock photo model taking out another ad stating he didn't approve of the product his /her image was being used to promote. Sorry, but that's just not cricket.

Demosthenes said...

Wait... so the young actress from a ludicrously deceptive ad speaking out about it isn't cricket...

...but the ad itself is?

Er, yeah.

As for anonymous there... all I'll say is that I really, really hope The Scott Ross isn't involved in politics, because politics is about perception, and the perception impact of landing the very actress from that silly ad is amazing. Sure, it's not a substantive response, but it wasn't a substantive ad in the first place. It was a half-assed Daisy ripoff that deserved the burning it got.

(I hate to be casting aspersions, but if The Scott Ross is any indicator of Liberal image acument, I'm starting to understand why Harper was able to run roughshod all over Dion with those ads early last year. If Obama is Web 2.0, this is just, well, Geocities with a little "under construction" sign. Kinda sad, kinda dated, and not especially likely to see too many web donations.)