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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Empowering Campaign Supporters to Make Ads

The primary season opens in earnest with a fun challenge from NDNblog‘s Peter Leyden. How many times have you watched a political ad and scoffed “I could do better than that?” Well, it’s time to put up or shut up.
Leyden reveals a nifty idea being applied by the Romney campaign — empowering supporters to create their own ads. The Republicans in general may be behind in using internet resources, but Leyden gives due credit to the Romney campaign for “Enabling the Creativity of the Crowds in Politics.” As Leyden describes it:

The campaign is using Jumpcut, which Yahoo bought last year, as the tool for “mashing up” video, audio and photos in creative ways. The campaign provides a base of content to use, but they also encourage people to upload their own material to remix…Mash-ups” refer to repurposing material meant for one thing to communicate another. It’s similar to the more familiar “remixing” of music from original songs into new creations. The mash-up technique has been used somewhat in politics, though not in official campaigns. The most famous example is the “Vote Different” remake of the Apple 1984 done by a person who remained anonymous for several weeks earlier this year. Moveon blazed a trail in the 2004 campaign by creating a contest to create a TV ad about “Bush in 30 Seconds.” However, all the submissions were original and there was no material provided to create the ads via a mash-up.

The downside is that there is a certain potential for abuse. But the bet is that most users will use the technology in a positive way. (To see how it works, click here.) On balance, says Leyden:

Despite the risks, Romney is going down the right path. The most successful candidates will be those who can harness the energy and creativity of large numbers of American citizens. No one candidate or small team of consultants can pull off an election victory these days. They need the ideas, passions and efforts of many, many people working together for a long, long time.

A worthy challenge for Democrats with creative ideas for ads.

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