Tuesday, October 27, 2015

'Virtual Reality' Was One Loser in Democrat Debate

Virtual reality was on stage along with the candidates during the recent Democratic presidential debate as part of a CNN experiment with virtual reality (VR) startup partner Next VR. Anyone with a Samsung Gear VR headset (powered by a Samsung phone) was supposed to have an "immersive" experience of the debate, able to choose their own 180-degree views free of TV editing and in real time via live streaming. Samsung and HTC are both set to release VR devices for the holidays, and Sony and Facebook are planning their own devices for 2016, when Jupiter Research projects sales of 3 million headsets. But politicians worried about adapting presentation for a game-changing media can probably relax for this election cycle. Per a report to CNET by Max Taves, VR is "not ready for its close-up." While Taves' VR experience of the debate gave him the promised 180-degree views, the wide angles came at the expense of close-ups, he noted. So though TV viewers saw candidate and moderator faces and reactions clearly, Taves saw only distant blurs while wearing a heavy headset and holding an overheating phone to his face. NextVR co-founder D.J. Roller argued that the VR debut was still a forward step for a technology in development and promised,"That's as bad as it's going to get." But not good enough to be a political factor for current campaigns, we would guess. For the article, see http://www.cnet.com/news/not-ready-for-its-close-up-virtual-reality-makes-presidential-debate-virtually-unwatchable/

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Movie Theater Pre-Show Ad Firm Nixes Political Ads

To avoid expected political ad "negativity" in the 2016 election cycle, National CineMedia, whose FirstLook pre-show ad program plays in 1,600 movie theaters and reaches 700 million moviegoers annually, has decided to refuse all political advertising, reported a recent AdWeek magazine story. NCM did show some political ads during the 2012 election cycle, choosing only ads it judged to be positive or neutral. This time it expects a "sea of negative ads" and will make its theaters "politics-free zones," reports AdWeek. For national and local campaigns, NCM's decision removes access to a national reach that translates into a Nielsen rating above 7.0 among the desirable 18- to 49-year-old demographic, with no way for viewers to skip ads, notes the story. And for NCM, it means forgoing a slice of an estimated $4 billion in TV political ad spending. Cliff Marks, NCM president of sales and marketing, explained the decision to AdWeek: "We think brands are going to get really sick of having their image and their brand projected next to these negative ads. How is anybody going to remember your brand and message?" Marks said the company hopes appreciative brand advertising will compensate for any potential loss from missing political ads, but the decision is based on "doing the right thing." Read the full story at http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/why-national-cinemedia-saying-no-all-political-advertising-167570

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tips on Online Fundraising for Political Rookies

For rookie political campaigns, online fundraising can be daunting, appearing to require digital expertise in everything from website building to #cashtags and online video. But even those "starting from scratch" can succeed reassures a recent Campaigns & Elections magazine article by Laura Packard, partner in the Democratic digital strategy firm PowerThru Consulting. Packard ironically begins by warning neophyte fundraisers against rushing into the arms of an expensive digital consultant, especially one who offers to raise big bucks without a proven donor list. Instead, she suggests less costly basic steps to an online fundraising base. Start by being realistic about online fundraising goals, she advises. Direct mail, phone campaigns and big-donor meetings will bring in the bulk of donations; a digital effort is a valuable tool but a supplemental one. And while social media generates lots of buzz, the workhorse of online fundraising is still e-mail. So, Step No. 2 is to find a good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform to handle your e-mail deployment and response, ranging from small-file options like Constant Contact to NGP VAN used by most Democratic campaigns. Bottom line: Don't use a personal e-mail account that not only appears unprofessional but lacks good deliverability and response tracking. Third, build a decent website with a prominent e-mail sign-up and a way for potential donors to give via credit card. Website-building doesn't have to be expensive either; domain registration sites offer cheap/free tools to create web pages that are good enough for start-up. Finally, and most important, build that e-mail list; the bigger the list, the more money you can raise! For her suggestions on CRM options and list-building, go to http://www.campaignsandelections.com/campaign-insider/2544/starting-from-scratch-here-s-how-to-hit-your-online-fundraising-goal

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

DC Insider: Engagement Drives Lobbying Success

Smaller businesses, interest groups and causes often despair that they can't afford the cost of lobbying to win political influence in Washington, or state capitals for that matter. Recently, Alex Vogel, recognized as a leading national lobbyist by the National Journal and The Hill magazines, reassured that there is a road map to political impact for smaller players. In an interview with Direct Marketing News Senior Editor Al Urbanski, Vogel, who now heads the VogelHood Research firm creating data-driven models to predict national policy decisions, declared that the most important factor for lobbying success is visibility and direct engagement on as many fronts as possible, from home events to legislators' offices. If you are a lobbying newcomer who wants to be heard in Washington, D.C., start with an existing trade association or advocacy group to be educated about issues and political players, and to get plugged into an advocacy structure. The next step is to engage appropriate decision-makers--and to not be disheartened by their unavailability. Meeting with staffers, such as a chief of staff or legislative director, has real value because these are the folks who help prioritize, analyze and craft policy positions for busy elected officials, Vogel stresses. Be assured that the biggest barrier to advocacy success is not a lack of money or professional lobbyists but rather a lack of engagement, he insists. To achieve engagement, use a cohesive, organized and continuous effort to blanket decision-makers at all levels. That engagement will be most cost-effective with a strategy of early and often, not waiting until an issue reaches a critical stage. Vogel cites the example of Microsoft, which ignored Washington politics until faced with an antitrust suit--and ended up spending 10 to 20 times more playing political catch-up. For the whole interview, read http://www.dmnews.com/dc-direct/its-never-too-late-to-lobby-says-dc-insider-alex-vogel/article/441293/