Discuss: ad campaign choices

The most recent phone/chat conference was in part about the direction the ad campaign should take. Broadly speaking, there are two issues:

  • how aggressively to promote the ads
  • where to run them

The first issue is related to the familiarity viewers have with the topic — is language used in the ads such as “Congratulations” or “Don’t Let Our Constitution Die” too esoteric, too “inside baseball”? (For example, “FISA” is not defined in the “Congratulations” ad.) If so, that may argue for a limited rollout of the current ads, and the development of a new,  more easily understood educational message.

The choice of which markets to place the ads in depends (it seems to me) on what goals are being pursued. For example, if Representatives or Senators can be identified who seem persuadable about reforming/restoring FISA, that might argue for buying ads in their congressional districts or states.   The list of cities where SaysMe.tv can run our ads is:

New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Bangor (ME), Charlotte, Columbus, Dallas, Dayton, Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Orlando-Daytona Beach, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Raleigh-Durham, Reno. St. Louis, San Francisco, Savannah, Seattle-Tacoma, Spokane, Toledo, Washington DC, West Palm Beach – Ft Pierce, Atlanta (2/1/09), Boston (2/1/09)

The recent TV appearances of former NSA worker Russell Tice makes me wonder if it’s possible that our ads might inspire others like him to blow the whistle on the NSA warrantless surveillance program.  If so, continued or perhaps specially rewritten ads in the DC area and other NSA locations might be worthwhile, wherever they are — e.g., Fort Gordon, GA (Augusta), Bridgeton, MO (ATT facility), etc. — if served by one of the media markets listed above.

Alternatively, perhaps outreach to certain audience demographics might be best — e.g., Comedy Central for younger, politically engaged viewers, Fox for conservative viewers.  Either way, ad rollouts in local markets will be even more successful if they’re accompanied by press releases like the ones Patrick Bruckart sent to local Virginia papers about the “Congratulations ad.”

What do you think?  (Links to ads and news stories to follow)

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3 Responses to Discuss: ad campaign choices

  1. pebruckart says:

    I think an easy to understand educational ad(s) is a great idea. I think that FISA itself is too esoteric for most people (unless they’re ACLU members and heard about it that way or privacy activists or something along similar lines).

    On the other hand, I think that everybody understands the issue of Bush’s illegal wiretapping program (starting with when the first big story broke in the NY Times). Whether this type of wiretapping now, with subsequent court decisions, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, etc., is technically legal and to what extent the government is or is not continuing to do it is probably debatable.

    Still, my feeling is it would be better to concentrate on “illegal surveillance,” “wiretapping U.S. citizens without a warrant,” “domestic spying,” maybe “sneak and peak” warrants, etc. The more concrete, specific, and non-technical, the better.

    Unfortunately, I think that there are still many people who are willing to support blanket surveillance by the government in the interest of public safety (they might even be a majority, whether they’re actively supporting it, or not opposing it out of ignorance or apathy). The way I think about our intended audience is that a large part of it (say 75%) needs to learn more about privacy and we need to convince them that it affects their every day lives. I find this really difficult, similar to trying to convince people that Due Process and fair trials are important in these tough on crime days. It seems a hard sell, but once somebody has been falsely accused of a crime they become a true believer.

    And I have a question about developing an educational message. Are we limited to 20-seconds because that’s the way SaysMe.tv works, or is it a matter of fundraising?

  2. pebruckart says:

    Specifically targeting the ads to privacy friendly legislators’ districts and reaching out to younger folks through the Comedy Channel (and similar types of campaigns) is a great idea. Speaking of the Comedy channel I’ve seen a couple of episodes of South Park with some great spoofs on the NSA, President Bush, etc. At the time, I was kind of imagining what doing an ad like a scene from South Park (or something similar) would be like. (Just kind of a far out thought.)

  3. ravenwind says:

    Yes, to the Comedy Central idea. I wonder about reaching the older citizen with something like “James Bond spies on our enemies. He isn’t real. Our National Security Agency spied on you . . . and me. Real life. Wrong for our country. We aren’t the enemy. Our privacy rights must be secured.”

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