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The Youtube Election Gaining Steam

Posted by: David Kiley on April 24, 2008

This year’s election is going to be more a youtube season than any other in history.

As one new ad from a Republican 527 Group ad shows, the object is not to spend any money on ad buys, but to get the news media to bite on these ads and run them for free during broadcasts.

This segment from MSNBC proving the point. The irony of this is thick. The story on MSNBC is about how these groups will get newscasts to show the ads for them, with the ad running behind them. Hmmmm.

The action in North Carolina is just as rich. The state GOP party began running the ad shown in yesterday’s blog entry. John McCain condemned the ad and asked the state party to stop running it. The state party has so far refused. The story goes on one more day. Each time the story takes a turn and gets covered, they show the ad again—an anti Obama ad featuring, or starring, Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

No question that the groups will make full use of Youtube between now and the election to try and virally spread negative ads that even some cable stations might reject. And networks like MSNBC and Fox love to run Youtube ad segments on their broadcasts because it makes them look cool and hip to younger audiences.

One interesting aspect of Youtube to look for in coming months—influential celebrities and perhaps even some politicians who can’t crack the Obama, Clinton or McCain inner circle will make their own ads and videos, put them up on Youtube, and then alert the news media that it is up there. We have seen a few examples of this already with a video for Hillary by Jack Nicholson and a pro-Obama video created by Deutsch/LA creative chief Eric Hirshberg.

Reader Comments


April 25, 2008 2:47 PM

It is more than irony, its outright cluelessness...

"Here's the catch... Brown does not have a single ad buy in any TV market... instead of paying for airtime, he just announces this in a press release for outlets like YouTube to pick up..."

Since when did YouTube ever "pick up" anything, much less "pick up" something from a press realease?

When she says "for outlets like YouTube to pick up" substituting "MSNBC" for "YouTube" is more than pointing up the irony.

There is an inherent top-down mentality, an assumption that someone up top decides what is going top get shown or featured on YouTube, as if YouTube were just like a network, say, like MSNBC.

You Tube is a bottom up model, where anyone with an agenda, or something funny, or weird, can (and will) post it for all the world to see (and for the top-down networks to "pick up".


April 30, 2008 10:06 AM

Just because it's on YouTube doesn't mean it's accurate. Networks are professional news organizations bound by professional ethics, and one of their professional obligations is to check the facts before running anything.

YouTube is for amateurs, by amateurs, for amateurs. They don't claim to be objective or even factual. Anyone who posts to it is subject to slander and libel liability. News organizations are shielded by freedom of the press, but implicit in that priviledge is the responsibility to only report the truth.

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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