I got a note from Maggie Duncan, Advocacy, Inc.'s assistant director of client relations, in regards to a post I made the other day. Basically, I questioned the impact of a video e-mail sent using Advocacy's system on behalf of Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman of California that linked to an interview of the candidate on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report."
I stated, "I get how this might make Sherman seem more hip to some voters, but to me it's just another example of political campaigns missing the point by thinking that goofy viral=votes. I don't think anybody's proved that yet, and I'd be surprised to see this sort of thing ever making a difference in terms of getting people to the polls or swaying votes."
Maggie wrote to me today in response and approved of me posting her message:
I saw your blog posting this week about the Brad Sherman for Congress video. Our point in sending out the video was as an example of successful video email, a tactic we're going to see more and more campaigns and elected officials using in the upcoming election season. From video newsletters to press releases and clips of (serious) political speeches, the impact of video email has shown itself to be immense. I included Rep. Sherman's campaign email to demonstrate how easy it is to embed a video image into the body of an email--thus making it much easier for people see it. With the technology our management system offers clients, recipients do not have to download video players onto their computers, and we're seeing very high click-through rates as a result.
The subject of the video is, of course, up to the campaign or official itself--I can't speak for the Sherman campaign on their strategy of sending out the Colbert Report interview through our system, except to say that it could be a good--albeit unique---way of getting their name out to thousands of young, plugged-in California voters.
....again, I think the really interesting aspect of all this isn't necessarily what works or what doesn't, but rather how fast and how successfully our capabilities are changing.
Another note: Though the e-mail is referred to one featuring "embedded video," it's not in actuality. According to Maggie, "most email clients aren't allowing streaming videos to be embedded in email bodies anymore--too many security concerns. So while the picture and link are embedded, the video itself is not. Many of our clients have the image pop open a new window that is hosted on our server, so it doesn't take the recipient to an outside website (like the Colbert Report site) but rather to a new, smaller window that pops up right on top of the image in the email and starts playing the video."