Republican groups have been doing some pretty sneaky (and admittedly creative) stuff to influence the opinions of young voters in America. This isn't surprising since it was largely their creativity and willingness to play dirty that got W elected in 2004. Ironically, it was the WSJ who uncovered this news last week in an Aug 3 article. Someone uploaded a video to YouTube entitled "Al Gore's Penguin Army" mocking his film - "An Inconvenient Truth". The 2-min video is neither creative nor intelligent in its message - though I'm still amazed someone can get away with implying global warming is anything less than a harsh reality. What is creative is the method of distribution - uploaded to YouTube and distributed for free to millions of users, mostly in the highly sought after 14-26 demographic. The video has been viewed just under 400,000 times in the past week, so as a marketing ploy, its been pretty damn effective. Thanks to a few curious journalists, it was uncovered that the video had been uploaded from computers at DCI Group , a conservative PR and lobbying firm in DC who counts Exxon among its clients. When questioned about it, DCI would not comment.
In a related story this week, the WSJ reported that marketers are using mySpace to do social marketing by allowing users to make "friends" with movie characters, and other relevant pop culture icons. The article alluded to Ricky Bobby's mySpace page, a fictional page made to look like one owned by Will Ferrell's character in the new film "Talladega Nights."
The message here is simple. Marketers of all types who want to influence opinions are embracing Web2.0 technology offerings with a vengeance and taking advantage of opportunities they enable. Social networking technologies enable groups and individuals to interact with a level of ease and accessibility previously unknown. Organizations who want to communicate a message or idea can, for the first time, reach out directly to groups of their constituents. Groups that fail to embrace these new offerings will fall behind, and possibly precipitously so. Its not surprising that media and entertainment groups have been some of the earliest adopters. I am surprised, though, and impressed with conservative groups' adoption rates. For the sake of our country, I hope Democrats heed these signs and jump on board the bus before its too late.