Thursday, October 21, 2010

California's Governor's Race and Youtube

The race for California Governor has been heated to the point of being explosive. The Meg and Brown camps have been holding no punches from bringing Meg’s treatment of her undocumented housekeeper to an alleged garbled phone message from Brown’s staff calling miss Whitman a “Whore”. This should come as no surprise, it has been this way since before the Brown – Unruh years and with the increasing technology and ease of reaching the public, more and more money has been spent on the campaign fervor and new methods for swaying the electorate.

When LBJ first released his controversial commercial highlighting the possibility of nuclear war, it was so triggering that it was only aired once but talked about by the majority of news outlets nation wide. Many argue that this ad won him the election.

While an advertisement can cost a certain amount to produce, most costs have lowered due to the huge availability of video production software and the relatively inexpensive equipment available. The real costs is buying of time on television and these days that isn’t the only forum for these adds. Platforms such as youtube have allowed for so much information to be stored that it would be ludicrous for anyone without an internet connection and an hour to be uninformed of the race and the issues.

You can watch everything from the debates such as the first debate held at UC Davis,

to almost ever advertisement that both sides want to show. Here are two that stand out in my mind. The first is from Meg called “puppet”. This was obviously a mediocre budget production probably put together in flash or some other low tech form.

In my mind it isn’t particularly effective advertisement. It is very short, there are no real references to the “facts” that the video is putting out there and the add itself doesn’t really resonate that well. It seems to try and trigger humor and possibly fear (ropes and darkness) in the audience.

In contrast here is a very simple yet very effective video from the Brown campaign drawing comparisons between Meg and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Obviously the part that took the longest in generating this video was the research and finding these specific clips. The video itself is again, relatively basic, even using a very rough morph at the very end but the reason it is effective is that it hits home this direct comparison, it not only keeps to its message but drives it home. On Youtube alone this video has gotten almost 15,000 views while Meg’s puppet video has only had about 2,500.

Both of these videos are blown out of the water by an amazingly well done anti-Meg Whitman add put out by California Correctional Peace Officers as an independent expenditure. They either found or made a great bobble head and well done animation with a great and catchy tune that sounds more like They Might Be Giants song than a political song. The video shows itself as being effective by the fact that it has over 47,000 views.

Social media has already been shown to be changing the way our politicians campaign. But it is promising to be so much more. With the ability for every day individuals to create their own content and put forward their opinions on issues and candidates, the face of political advertisements and videos is going to be something we have never seen before very soon and I for one am looking forward to it with bright eyes. Yes I know that there will be some horribly done or uninformed dribble out there but the glistening examples will rise to the top.

For the last example I will put on here is a spoken word piece by Brave New Films ( who touts tons of political videos, many very well done (such as the Carly Fiorina Loves the Tea Party video) and also has amassed a total over 48 million views.

This isn’t my favorite video of them, but shows my point of where the political discussion is headed.