Spotlight Blog

Clip Service: Obama Redux

Seems the working press can’t get enough of the data secrets the successful Obama re-election effort used to keep their man in the White House.

Sunday’s New York Times Magazine cover asked “Is selling a pizza different from selling a president?” Answer: yes. But that’s not really the one the author, political writer Jim Rutenberg gave. We’ll let you judge how well he answered that question. Here are Spot-On we still have some questions. The big one: Is AMG, the firm profiled in the story, really going to take on the entrenched TV media buying establishment?

On the other side of the aisle, the Times Bits – it’s digital section – had a sweet profile of a company Spot-On knows and likes, CrowdVerb, started by longtime digital dudes Todd Herman and Cyrus Krohn. It’s all about metrics and analytics and no one says anything about pizza.

Late last year and earlier this year, there were a spate of stories about the Obama effort. Here’s are pointers to two that made the most sense ICYMI as the kids say or, In Case You Missed It.

Inside the Cave (pdf slide show) from the good folks at Engaged DC.

When the Nerds Go Marching In – Alexis Madrigal in The Atlantic

4 Reasons Why Obama’s Digital Effort Was a Success – Mashable

Good Mobile

Here’s the UC mobile tablet ad Spot-On likes so much:


It’s pretty, it’s informative and it’s on Flipboard.

It lands on a special magazine Cal’s PR department has created just for Flipboard called Fiat Lux.



Clip Service: Ad Trends to Note

Here a few advertising industry trends that have caught our eye in the past few weeks and which we think will matter for political ad placement in the months and years to come.

Desktop ad sales are peeking. So fewer voters will be seeing political ads at work.

– Maybe because 30% of all Americans own a tablet? So ad targeting using web browser technology might be getting less effective.

What’s this mean? Political campaigns are going to have to consider more mobile ad placements and those placements are going to have to be bought by geographic location. Expect to see this take effect in upper income urban enclaves and almost every suburb and college town in 2014.

Rich media gets more attention than basic banners. What’s “rich” media? Ads that expand across a page, ads between pages or ads that contain video.

Combine the rich media trend  with the rise of tablets, fall of desktop ad placement and you’re going to see more interstitial ads – between the pages – on mobile tablet devices. Why? They work. Look for this in force in 2016.

– Big news outlets with the power to influence public opinion are experimenting with ways to sell ads with their or others’ opinons. This is an interesting trend for public affairs and other lobbying efforts. Spot-On’s run a few local persuasion campaigns with banner ads with good results so these “sponsored” ideas have traction.

And, lastly, following up from a trend we, er, spotted a while ago, some folks think there’s a real good chance all this talk about NSA and metadata and listening and tracking is going to affect how consumers view their individual online privacy. One poll got a lot of traction when it said that Americans aren’t upset by surveillance of data and phone records but a look at the details – the proverbial cross-tabs – shows more ambivalence. And one Massachsetts legislator agrees: He’s introduced legislation to keep the cable company from tracking your TV habits.

In other words, all candidate websites should have privacy policies like the one described here. And brace yourself for a world where a lot of the tools used in online tracking – retargeting and cookie matching – get a more thorough review by lawmakers.