I like the “different” thinking by the pro-Romney SuperPAC Ending Spending Action Fund. This group is better know by its main backer Joe Rickets, founder of TD Ameritrade:
This is the point in the presidential race where voters have been slammed with so many TV ads that campaign strategists wonder how they can possibly cut through the clamor.
And that can lead to some unorthodox tactics.
In a retro move for a new media age, one conservative super PAC is spending more than $1 million in Wisconsin and four other battlegrounds on a breezy, pro-Romney, 12-page color “magazine” for insert into daily and weekly newspapers. It features boosterish profiles of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and even comes with a campaign-themed crossword puzzle (clue for 1 Down is the “the burger company where Paul Ryan worked as a kid”).
“We’re trying to get outside the clutter box,” says Will Feltus, who did media buying and targeting for the 2004 Bush re-election effort, and is now working on the $10 million independent ad campaign funded by conservative billionaire Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade.
A lot of that $10 million has gone into TV, radio and online ads. But the newspaper insert, so popular with big retailers, is an unusual vehicle for a political campaign. The group’s rationale is two-fold:
- the airwaves are almost hopelessly saturated with TV spots, and
- newspaper readers are highly cost-effective targets for political communications because of their propensity to vote.
The group, Ending Spending Action Fund, says it has printed more than 4 million inserts for distribution in Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, Virginia and Florida. They will show up in some weekly papers on Thursday and daily papers on Sunday.
“The basic idea is that print is the new ‘new media,’” says Feltus, citing data from Scarborough Research that shows the correlation between voting and media consumption is stronger for newspaper use than for TV, radio or the Internet. The chart below was put together by Feltus’ firm, National Media Inc., based on Scarborough’s 2011 surveys of more than 200,000 adults.