Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Using Video to Advocate- a Lesson from Political Candidates and Clint Eastwood

While pursuing an issue campaign, it’s important to use many forms of media to reach out to the general public and to elected officials for support. Depending on how your target audiences processes information, you should manage resources to deliver your message and keep them engaged. The most powerful resource any organization can use to reach all audiences is video. If executed correctly, a good video can quickly become viral and appear on television shows, social media pages, and newspaper/blog entries. There are three steps to begin a foundation for a successful video campaign.

Step 1: Have a Strong and Focused Message

There was a great example of a strong issue video during the Superbowl that has become wildly popular. If you haven’t seen it yet, I am referring to the Chrysler commercial featuring Clint Eastwood. The video was a powerful statement of how Detroit carmakers have begun a strong resurgence. Although it has no specific political agenda, the video builds a metaphor between the American Car industry and America. The video seeks to inspire Americans to believe in, and ultimately purchase, American made cars.

Step 2: Reach and Production Value

Elections have understood the value of video for a long time. Candidates have always used short commercials with limited reach and little production value. Today, these videos still exist, but they are now combined with the online video sources that have drastically increased the reach to a national level AT NO EXTRA COST thanks to sites like YouTube and Vimeo. In addition, videos now have greater production value. Production value is better today because technology has increased to the point that the time and resources needed to create a great video are less. Mastery of Final Cut Pro X, AVID, or even iMovie can make any amateur video seem great.

Some Examples:

Step 3: Don’t Be Too Bold

Videos are a powerful tool in any advocate’s arsenal. Be cautioned though: “with great power, comes great responsibility.” It’s important to note that “over the top” videos can result in negative consequences that will make your campaign look foolish. Your campaign will lose support if a controversial video becomes viral. Some examples of videos that have landed some of their candidates in hot water recently:

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