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Thursday, March 8, 2007

presidential candidates on youtube

Some of these guys (and gals) get it, and some of them just don't. Clearly candidates are trying to appeal to the internet generation--that would be us--by making YouTube videos so we can blog and MySpace and FaceBook about them and do whatever it is kids do these days. Message to campaign media managers: new media is all about user generated content and posting the same video that you're going to run at your party's national convention is not going to sell to a generation that is more media savvy than you are.

Take, for instance, Mitt Romney's video, titled "Unplugged". First of all, this is one of the only videos on all of YouTube that uses quotation marks in the title, and I know that's hypercritical of me, but it's an early sign that the video is going to be detached from YouTube's audience. Second of all, it's called "Unplugged", which might have been a cool pop culture reference in 1995 when that show was still on MTV, but now it sounds tired. Then there's the video itself: a slick, well-edited montage of Romney (using the word Jihadist, no less) and his wife, narrated by someone who sounds like he's from the National Geographic channel. This video might impress a 50-year-old, but word on the street is that they're not so hip to YouTube. There is, in fact, nothing "unplugged" about it.

Let's contrast this with the videos coming out of Barack Obama's campaign. Obama has hired Joe Rospars, a young, cool guy who co-founded Blue State Digital, as his New Media Director, and Rospars' team has produced a series of videos that I actually enjoy watching. They don't seem scripted, they're edited like other YouTube videos, and a good majority of them build on Obama's "I'm the grassroots candidate" theme by relying heavily on interviews with people off the street. The videos are effective because they don't bore the audiences with Obama's stump speeches--rather they play up the buzz surrounding Obama. In this next video, Obama is comes off as a rock star surrounded by his adoring fans. Talk about hitting the target audience nail on the head:

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Blogger gary said...

I would agree that just posting more campaign commercials isn't going to help anyone. But think of it as just a beginning. Once we users get our hands on them, maybe we can make something useful of it all. Here's my own implementation...


3/8/07, 4:28 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

I like that, Gary.

3/8/07, 6:53 PM  

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