Monday, September 24, 2007

YouTube Ads A Player In Mayor's Race

While Democrats and those in the media who are supporting Mayor Peterson's re-election, such as WISH-TV's Jim Shella, have been highly dismissive of the value of independently-produced YouTube ads making their way around the community in this year's Indianapolis mayoral race, the Star's Mary Beth Schneider has a story today suggesting they may be having an impact. Schneider writes:

Instead of talking to their neighbors or posting yard signs, candidates' supporters and critics can take their messages to thousands -- even millions -- of people.

[Dan] Heiwig, a 26-year-old Indianapolis Republican, said he met Ballard and was impressed. But he knew that Ballard's matchup with Peterson was "a David-and- Goliath situation."

"They didn't know who he was," Heiwig said of voters. "Now they know who he is. Now they have a video."

Heiwig said he put up the first ad criticizing Peterson and supporting Ballard "just to see."

He let one person know about it, he said, and word spread quickly.

"The next thing I knew, everybody got it. I thought, 'This is great,' " he said.

He decided to put up two more and now plans to add a new one each week until the Nov. 6 election. To all but a seasoned political pro, the ads look just like the ones you might see on TV, complete with Ballard's slogan and references to his Web site.

As of Friday, the first two ads posted had been viewed more than 1,300 times each, and a third one about 950 times.

That's a minute amount by political-ad standards for a race in which about 150,000 votes likely will be cast.

But political experts say that YouTube's power can be explosive.

"It's a huge impact," said Democratic political consultant Robin Winston, a former state Democratic Party chairman.

In fact, he said, he encourages all of his clients to post ads on YouTube in addition to buying time for them on television.

Unlike TV ads, which are on-screen in 30-second increments for a week or two, YouTube ads are eternal; they can be viewed on the Web site whenever someone wants to click on them. Robert Schmuhl, professor of American studies at the University of Notre Dame, said YouTube is changing politics.

"It gives citizens direct access to political messages that might not otherwise be seen. And the access is really a two-way street," he said.

Anyone with a video camera can now capture an embarrassing moment for a candidate, post it online and change the course of a campaign.

Not surprisingly, the Mayor's campaign manager, Mike O'Connor is skeptical about the ad's impact. "O'Connor said he's seen little evidence that it can have the same impact on local politics," Schneider writes. Curiously, the Star provides no link in its online Star to any of the YouTube ads referenced in the article. Schneider's article focus on Heiwig's ads. I think the ads being anonymously produced by The Hammer are more effective and are receiving more hits than Heiwig's. You can view them by clicking here.


Wilson46201 said...

So when will the official Ballard campaign post any of its own TV spots on YouTube (or anywhere) ?

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure the Mayor's folks aren't happy about the above poster trolling for them on the Internets...

I viewed the YouTube ad. Kinda clever.

The story is kinda shallow, but it caused me to look. I won't vote for Ballard, but it was good to see someone trying, when they ahve few resources. I admire pluck.

Anonymous said...

I think an endorsement of time and effort by an average person means more than an "official" campaign commercial. Anyone running for office is going to say only great things about himself/herself, however, when one of the citizens says it, then it has more impact.

It's akin to getting an endorsement from one of your customers, rather than running an ad yourself.

I think the whole notion is fantastic.

By the way Wilson, does anyone care enough about Peterson to make up You Tube ads for him? I know there are a lot of You Tube ads that harshly criticize his performance...but are any praising him?

Anonymous said...

Wilson, as usual you're stirring it up..makes me think your were a dairy farm boy and churned butter.

Anonymous said...

"Wilson, as usual you're stirring it up..makes me think your were a dairy farm boy and churned butter."

Milking cows? Ewwwwww!!! Now we're getting images of Wilson pulling on certain types of long appendages and doing who knows what else with them!!

Wilson46201 said...

Anonymous nobodies here praising YouTube negative political attack ads made by anonymous nobodies? Figures! Just anti-Bart propaganda made by folk too ashamed to use their own names...

Anonymous said...


Does anyone care enough to make POSITIVE You Tube ads for Peterson?

God knows he could use some help with his stomach turning ads that the public doesn't buy.

He's spending all that money just to have a nauseating effect on people!

NOTE TO PETERSON: Money won't buy the love of the people. (saw that on the Indy Star blog)

Anonymous said...

Bart Peterson IS the best advertisement for Ballard.
His continued "stretching the truth" has gotten so far out of control it's costing him votes.
Blacks feel that THEY don't have a mayor, hispanics feel that they have no voice in city government, and Bart Peterson doesn't listen to the little people. He just taxes them so his friends, Irsay, Simon,, can get more of the taxpayers cash.

It will be a close race, but I think Ballard will come out on top.

Bart Lies said...

Wonder why Wilson is poo-pooing ordinary citizens doing whatever they can for a cause they believe in? Sure, they're not paid employees of their favorite candidate, but not everyone is that fortunate.

Is it the Democrats' way to denigrate those less fortunate than themselves?

To me it seems rather noble for John Q Citizen to make his stand for all to see. When, recently, have we seen such a dedicated force of mere citizen's united for a political cause?

In an era where certain politicians and their legislative bodies seem to believe the government should do everyone's thinking for them, this grassroots involvement is quite wonderful.

Anonymous said...

More power to the people!

Wilson is the only lacky for the Democrats who continues to post negative comments and criticize average citizens whom his party does not control.

Everyone in Marion County is not brainwashed! These anonymous nobodies have a voice and a vote Wilson.

Vote for Ballard for Mayor and change the members of the city-county council.