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RNC Hits Obama Over Gas Prices In Targeted YouTube Ads in Miami

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, February 23 2012

The RNC is targeting Miami news and politics YouTube viewers with an ad slamming Obama over gas prices

The Republican National Committee on Thursday launched a geographically-targeted YouTube advertising campaign aimed at voters in Miami as President Obama makes a speech there Thursday about gas prices and energy policy.

The ad is an Instream TrueView video ad, where the video plays either before or during the actual video stream that the viewer went to YouTube to watch. In this case, the RNC is targeting YouTube viewers who are watching news and politics videos on YouTube in the Miami area, and would only pay for the ad if the viewer watches it for more than five seconds. The ads also only appear against videos from companies that YouTube has monetization agreements with, like local news stations.

The RNC's strategically timed and placed YouTube ad hits Obama over the rising cost of gas. It overlays a graph over recent footage of the President singing the Blues in the White House.

President Obama was scheduled to deliver a major speech addressing his energy policies and the rise in the price of gas Thursday at the University of Miami to address voters' anxieties over the issue.

As the RNC ad shows, Republicans are seizing on the issue to shape their perceptions. For his part, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich promised voters that his energy policies would result in $2.50 for a gallon of gas on Red State.

But the RNC's strategic attempt at persuasion is especially noteworthy because of its focus. Florida is a state that is likely up for grabs between Republicans and Democrats in the general election.

Rob Saliterman, head of advertising sales to Republican political campaigns and issue advocacy groups, said that the RNC had submitted its ad to YouTube only hours before it was scheduled to run on Thursday.

He said it's an example of a political party "bracketing" the opposition's media presence in a market, and he expects to see more of this kind of ad buy on YouTube as the election year wears on. One advantage of the medium, he said, is its cost efficiency. Television advertising in some markets can be extremely expensive and reach audiences in geographically irrelevant markets as far as voting is concerned.

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