You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

NRCC Wants to Make Vine Attack Ads a Thing With S. Carolina Congressional Race

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, April 12 2013

The NRCC has launched what it says is the first political attack ad in the form of a six-second Vine video in the House race in South Carolina's First District, where Elizabeth Colbert Busch, sister of Stephen Colbert, is running against former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.

The video flashes several images meant to show regular people while the text and voice commentary offer the message: "Elizabeth Colbert Bush and the Labor Unions mean fewer jobs for South Carolina."

Gerrit Lansing, digital director of the NRCC, said the ad was an effort to try something new and to "push the envelope."

"I think it has the potential to become a legitimate medium for political ads," he said, taking advantage of a digestible format that can capture a short attention span. "We're only beginning to scratch the surface of trying to tell a story in six seconds or a series of six second ads."

So far, Lansing said, the NRCC is only promoting the ad through its own channels, with a decision over whether to run it in paid ad form to follow over the next weeks.

He explained that the message in the ad referred to union efforts aimed at preventing the opening of a Boeing plant in South Carolina that would bring a thousand jobs to the state.

Lansing suggested that the success of such an ad format could begin to influence traditional advertising, such as through an increase in 15-second political TV ads. The NRCC recently revamped its website in a style that many outlets, including the National Journal and the Atlantic, reported was an emulation of Buzzfeed. Another post yesterday on the NRCC's website has the headline "How President Obama’s plan completely ignores Washington’s spending problem – in 4 CHIFs (Charts Made of GIFs)."

"The Internet format that is more enjoyable and light-hearted is bleeding into off-line formats," he said, as it moves far beyond "tweeting your press release." Lansing said the NRCC has an advantage because its young staff and structure allow the committee to be "creative and move fast," while he called the Democratic committees "old, uncreative and slow."

On its Facebook page the DCCC, iin addition to drumming up support for President Obama's agenda, has repeatedly promoted Colbert Busch's candidacy and her connection with Stephen Colbert, and highlighting a CNN opinion piece on Sanford's "woman problem."

While Stephen Colbert has participated in several fundraisers for his sister, she has not yet appeared on his show, although he has dedicated two segments to her candidacy over the course of the Democratic and Republican primaries in the race.

Other support on the Democratic side for Colbert-Busch has come from New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who has been promoting fundraising for her campaign on social media through Act Blue and her Off the Sidelines campaign aimed at encouraging women to participate in public life.

Earlier this week, Colbert Busch released her first TV ad of the general election, which is on May 7, emphasizing her independence.

In a post on April 5, Micah Cohen analyzed for FiveThirtyEight how the Colbert Bush and Sanford race could turn out to be competitive. He noted that the district was still heavily Republican, though not overwhelmingly so, and that since being redrawn after the 2010 census, the population was more moderately conservative, focused on fiscal restraint rather than cultural conservatism. "While on its own, the First District’s fiscal conservatism may not help Ms. Colbert Busch,....the fact that the district is less socially conservative means fewer voters may disqualify Ms. Colbert Busch for her support of same-sex marriage and abortion rights," he wrote. He also noted that Public Policy Polling recently found Sanford's unfavorability ratings to be high, which he attributed to Sanford's well-known marital scandal.

Through the end of February, Colbert Bush had raised $309,559, while Sanford's campaign had raised $412,707 by mid March.

The Wall Street Journal also noted in a post today that Democratic-leaning group American Bridge 21st Century used a Vine video excerpted from a longer video targeting Ken Cuccinelli, the Virginia attorney general and a Republican candidate for Governor of Virginia, earlier this year.

TechPresident recently took a look at how politicians were experimenting with Vine.

This post has been updated