The Internet enables political advertisers unprecedented abilities to get their messages out quickly and unencumbered by media interpretation. And while political candidates have begun to show an interest in employing Web video, most have simply repurposed TV spots
for their Web sites and video ads.
Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick broke that mold recently with an attack e-mail linking to a video produced for that express purpose. In it, the candidate speaks from his campaign headquarters about his opponent Christopher Gabrieli's choice to not accept public funding in order to spend as much as he'd like on his campaign.
As a Boston Globe article described it, "The video shows Patrick sitting in his campaign office alongside busy campaign volunteers. He is slumped forward slightly, speaking directly, sometimes emphatically, to the camera. At the end, he asks the viewer to join the campaign's first canvassing effort this Saturday."
I spoke with Brian Reich, director of Boston Operations for political consulting firm Mindshare Interactive Campaigns about what he considered to be an innovative approach to video e-mail. "He could have put a TV commercial up, but instead he recorded something special for this e-mail."
There's very little cost for this type of effort in comparison to creating a TV ad, plus recipients have the ability to pass along an e-mail message to spread the word. It'll be interesting to see if other candidates this year take Patrick's lead here and use Web video in this compelling way.