The Bush and Kerry campaigns are sending out videos as email attachments directly to their supporters:
- President Bush and Democratic front-runner John Kerry are engaged in a high-tech political showdown that combines the targeting power of direct mail with the glossy appearance of a television commercial.
The format is a Web video message e-mailed to millions of the Democratic and Republican rank-and-file.
“It’s animated direct mail,” said Michael Cornfield, research director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet at George Washington University. “It’s meant to mobilize supporters, raise money and create buzz.”
….And unlike those TV ads, the videos that appear on the Internet face none of the content regulations of the 2002 campaign finance law, including the statement by the candidate of “I approved this ad” that has given some campaigns pause before launching negative political ads. Web videos have the potential to be nastier than the typical TV ad.
….Rather than run TV ads when it became clear that Kerry was poised to capture the nomination, the Bush-Cheney campaign opted to e-mail a made-for-the-Internet video to 6 million supporters last week that sought to portray the Massachusetts senator as beholden to special interests even as he campaigns against them. Kerry has run at least a dozen TV ads assailing Bush or his policies.
….Kerry’s campaign responded Saturday, sending its own Web video to 300,000 supporters. The video described Bush as “the politician who’s taken more special interest money than anyone in history.”
The Kerry campaign also ridiculed Bush for not being in his own video, while the senator was shown approving the message in his.
….Jonah Seiger, a Washington-based Internet consultant, said that with the combination of the e-mail list and Web videos, the campaigns have essentially created broadcast networks.
“It goes out to a huge group of people, who in turn send it to their friends,” he said. “It has a network effect.” [AP]
Again the Internet is being used to circumvent the cost, restrictions, and inflexibility of mainstream media, and replacing another function of snail mail.
The article doesn’t mention whether the current virus pandemic on the Internet has made these camaigns less effective, or if anyone has been burned by malicious emails that spoof the Bush or Keyy campaigns.