Saturday, March 01, 2008

Obama's Edge in Money and Technology

While reading various Texas newspapers today, I came across major internet ads from Barack Obama in the Houston Chronicle; Dallas Morning News; and Austin-American Statesman.

These are huge ads that take up much of the home page of the newspapers' web sites. They include short campaign videos and important information on how to caucus on Tuesday night. It's a smart, savvy expenditure of money, and another example of the Obama campaign's superior skill in using new technologies.

I can imagine political and media historians of the future writing about the importance of the internet in the 2008 presidential election and Obama's mastery of it, in much the same way that they've written for years now about television's role in the 1960 election and how the younger candidate, John F. Kennedy, understood its impact much better.

I checked other Texas papers from San Antonio, El Paso, and Corpus Christi, but they didn't have the ads. Interestingly, the ad-buy was in areas where Obama has already shown strong support, as opposed to areas where he's probably lagging behind Clinton.

Then, I checked some Ohio papers. The Cincinnati Enquirer also featured the ad, though, obviously, without the Caucus information. Cleveland and Akron newspapers didn't have it.

Adam Nagourney has a story featured on the home page of the New York Times web site, "Obama Spends Heavily to Seek Knockout Blow," which mentions the internet ads:

Mr. Obama has been particularly aggressive in these contests in using Internet tools to identify and turn out supporters, building on tools they have developed throughout the campaign. For example, anyone using the search engine Google to look for Texas caucus locations will see an advertisement from Mr. Obama’s campaign listing the caucus sites, and, after a click, inviting people to sign in with their names and e-mail addresses.

Visitors to the Web sites of The Houston Chronicle and The Cincinnati Enquirer were confronted with a moving advertisement that took up nearly half the screen that showed a video of Mr. Obama and urged voters to sign up and pledge their support to his campaign.

“We are trying to grow the electorate,” said David Plouffe, Mr. Obama’s campaign manager, referring to the Internet effort. “We have had almost 20,000 people come through our ads looking for their early vote location.”
The article's worth reading for several other reasons as well.

UPDATE: Obviously, this wasn't enough of an edge.

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