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'Gaming' the Ames Straw Poll

BY Nick Judd | Friday, August 12 2011

ClickZ's Kate Kaye has a great look at how campaigns are going digital in their quest to win the Ames Straw Poll. Here's her describing how Republican political consulting firm Engage built a platform for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty that incorporates game elements:

A leaderboard connected to the Facebook profiles of volunteers ranks them according to the number of actions they've taken: Five points and an "Advocate" badge for a Facebook post, and 25 points for another Facebook message supporting the candidate, for example.

While applying game elements for campaigns for corporate brands has become trendy, Raynor suggested, "The value proposition is much higher for someone who is a supporter of a political candidate." He added, "We see the gamification piece of this as the hook for users. The core of what we're doing is the focus on data and connecting these disparate data points to one user profile," said Jordan Raynor, VP, media and public affairs for Engage, a Republican digital political firm. "These were previously disconnected data points for political campaigns."

Points and leaderboards are an ever-evolving thing for Republican candidates and campaigns. Not so much, oddly, for the Democrats, who are less interested in points.