Targeted neighborhood testimonials
Content is cheaper and easier to make today than it ever has been. Additionally, distribution has never been as targeted or as cheap. Given both of these realities, campaigns can make low budget ads that are tailored directly for certain neighborhoods within their broader district.
In our campaign, we had a series of testimonials from each major population center in the district. The filming and editing was done for free by a volunteer who had one camera and a shotgun mic. We then had 8 second cuts of these testimonials, as well as 30 second cuts, and finally the full piece. The ads were then shared organically by supporters and friends of the participant, along with targeted buys based on the voter file and geo-targeting. In each testimonial, we filmed the supporter in their neighborhood with landmarks in the background. Targeting these ads to the specific neighborhood where they are filmed helps build relatability and it increases the likelihood people will watch the whole clip and/or click through to the site. Also, the 8, 30, 90 second breakdown of these testimonials helps with YouTube remarketing buys.
You should also encourage all of your precinct captains to make their own selfie-style testimonial and tag their friends in the district who may not otherwise have known much about the race — particularly on Primary Election Day. If your state has a robust Vote by Mail program, this digital campaign can model the Ice Bucket Challenge, with supporters filming themselves giving a testimonial as they place the ballot in the mailbox. When giving these testimonials, the Captain tags their friends and challenges them to do the same. Make sure the precinct captains also tag the campaign so your field team can start marking people off their GOTV lists.
In all of these examples, there is a key function taking place. Campaigns should be about the community that will be represented, not the candidate running — at least not exclusively. Having others speak on the candidate’s behalf helps build the image of the candidate as a member of the community and that helps protect against negative advertising. The more the campaign is based on the community, the harder it is to attack the candidate; an attack on the candidate becomes an attack on someone’s friend.