So-called "web ads" running longer than the usual 30 seconds are often released by candidates with no paid exposure, in the hope that they'll be picked up by blogs and spread by individuals on social media. "Viral" spread of compelling content is a frequent goal of online campaign organizers, but rarely achieved.
Qualitatively, this web ad from Democratic CD-6 candidate Andrew Romanoff does seem like a good candidate for virality, taking a hard shot at Rep. Mike Coffman's record on reproductive choice. But in addition to hoped-for viral exposure, the ad is being run as a "preroll" spot on Youtube, Hulu, and other video content sites, where it will see many thousands of targeted views:
From the Romanoff campaign's press release:
Andrew Romanoff’s campaign today released a new online ad on reproductive rights — one day after the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a major setback to that cause. The video highlights Mike Coffman’s 25-year-long effort to deny Colorado women the right to make reproductive decisions.
“Who decides? That’s the question at the core of this debate — and a key difference in this race,” Romanoff said. “I believe women should have the right to make their own choices, rather than surrender the most personal decisions to their employers, politicians or anyone else.”
The web video, which will appear online and in a paid advertising campaign on social media channels, details Mr. Coffman’s long record of strict opposition to a woman’s right to choose. The congressman supported the Personhood amendment, voted repeatedly to defund Planned Parenthood, and co-sponsored a bill to redefine rape.
For campaigns looking to maximize exposure in the online space in a way that still allows for traditional video content production, online preroll buys are increasingly popular. They are cost-effective, can be launched with a comparatively small investment, and offer much more precise targeting than broadcast commercials. This isn't the first election cycle for preroll online video ads, but with each election more of the voting public is watching online video on a daily basis–more than broadcast TV in many cases. Smaller and lower budget campaigns should make more use of online video spots, and we expect that this year that will happen: especially with all the broadcast ad time being snapped up by the big campaigns and PACs.
It helps to have potent material too, which Romanoff has on Coffman.