New Media Analysis of WA I-1082 Campaigns

After briefly covering some claims about WA State’s Initiative 1082 at factcheckwa.org (regulation & funding), I believe there is some further analysis that can be useful in learning about these campaigns’ use of new media.

SaveOurJobsWa.com: Sleek and design-heavy, this website honestly looks like a corporate social responsibility website.  First you are struck with humanizing photos of workers in all different industries.  Then there are quirky ads and links to newspaper endorsements before you even notice the text that explains the motivation behind the initiative.  In fact, this page is not scannable at all, and tries to pack too much into one punch.  The volunteer page is quite simple, offering a form to submit one’s interest in helping, and contributions are accepted, through a second link, on an external, generic-looking site.  The section about claims is very defensive and heavy on rhetoric.

VoteNo1082.com: The campaign against the initiative is immediately rebellious.  Large print, bold colors, and informative page names that quickly inform you as to the intent of this website: Vote No.  There are a few different ways to volunteer, which you can choose without clicking through multiple pages, which is in stark contrast to the form submission option at SaveOurJobs.  Additionally, while contributions are handled by an external firm, the page for contributions appears to the unwatchful web surfer to be seamlessly integrated into the website.  What’s more, the claims investigated on this website are backed by citations from the text of the initiative and visitors can actually download a version of the initiative with highlights of “dangerous clauses”.

Social Media:

When it came to Facebook, the VoteNo campaign had close to 1,300 more fans than SaveOurJobs (3,775 total), but the scenario flipped on Twitter, where SaveOurJobs accumulated 190 more followers (237 total).   In fact, the VoteNo campaign didn’t even seem to use Twitter at all, with 42 followers and 47 tweets during the year (vs 287 tweets by SaveOurJobs).  Posting on Facebook, though, was fairly similar, and received generally similar volume of “likes” and comments.  Both campaigns rarely responded to these comments.

What I find most interesting about these tweets and Facebook posts is that VoteNo was always on the offensive, citing the influence of large insurance companies and openly attacking claims: Meanwhile, the SaveOurJobs campaign was fairly positive in nature and often centered around endorsements more than position statements:

Campaign Spending:

What’s most striking, though, is that the VoteNo campaign actually spent more than its opposition ($3,886,495 vs. $3,250,034), according to the WA State Public Disclosure Commission.  With the fancy designs, quirky commercials, and financial backing of the insurance industry, I would not have thought the VoteNo campaign would have outspent (and out-fundraised) the SaveOurJobs group.  Perhaps it goes to show that money is better spent on mobilizing than on designing the best-looking materials.

Campaign Ads:

One last note is the type of television/YouTube ads that the campaigns used.  Watching the following two videos will demonstrate the stark contrast in strategies.  The SaveOurJobs group, which I have constantly called design-heavy and big on rhetoric, appeals to voters with quirky, colorful, sleek video, while the VoteNo campaign manufactured more straightforward and honest-seeming ads.

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3 Responses to New Media Analysis of WA I-1082 Campaigns

  1. Pingback: week 6 – digital advocacy « Digital Democracy

  2. Pingback: week 7 – eGovernment « Digital Democracy

  3. This was critical in maximizing the marketing budget. “We used Facebook as the master research tool to help determine the creative for banner ads and TV ads online,” says Josh Koster, Partner at Chong & Koster.Clicks on the Facebook Ads drove people to the Vote NO on 8 in Florida website. Traffic from Facebook was tagged for remarketing on the site. As a result, Chong & Koster was able to continue targeting the right message to that person on banner ads across the Web. “Facebook actually influenced our banner ad targeting,” says Josh. “Not only were our display ads based on the results of the Facebook research, but a lot of our ads ran to people who we originally aggregated on a remarketing list through the Facebook acquisition campaign.

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