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Perspectives | Issue 6

Navigator’s folio of ideas, insights and new ways of thinking

Buzzfeed Says It Can Supercharge Your Campaign’s Content

July 15, 2016

Political campaigns are now conducted on the internet as much as they are at rallies, in interviews or at debates. While traditional events end up on social media — often while they are happening live – even the most compelling candidate is doomed without a strong social media strategy and the team to execute it.
In the 2016 presidential campaign, candidates are using all of the latest social media techniques to promote themselves, attack their rivals, raise money, identify and motivate potential supporters. And the corporate world is watching closely. What works in politics can often be modified to promote a corporate message, minimize damage to a personal or product reputation, and enhance profits. One of the newest platforms now being used by a group determined to stop the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump is attracting particular attention.

  • Foreword By Don Newman Senior Counsel, Navigator

Campaigns looking to create social media buzz have a new tool at their disposal. BuzzFeed is pitching an offering that can take a campaign’s 60-second TV ad and fashion it into shareable content that could significantly expand the digital reach of the average ad.
The digital media company made headlines earlier this cycle when its editorial department created videos for Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina’s presidential campaigns. Now, BuzzFeed’s ad team is opening its doors to campaigns and advocacy groups looking to create easily shareable content that appears as native advertising on
Our Principles PAC, an anti-Donald Trump group, was one of the first to buy a spot that features GIFs of women reciting misogynistic quotes from Trump. Bernie Sanders’ campaign has also made a buy, the company said.
BuzzFeed has been on the receiving end of political ad spending since 2012, but this is the first time its ad team is creating the content for its political clients, according to Rena Shapiro, who heads the company’s outreach to campaigns.
‘ we weren’t doing actual creation—this is a brand new concept,’ she said. ‘Anyone can create content. But what makes BuzzFeed unique is we have the data and technology to distribute it.’
The Our Principles ad is a hybrid of a one-minute video and a collection of chryoned GIFs.
‘You don’t have to watch the video,’ Shapiro said. ‘Quite often a 60-second video spot is content that’s not easily sharable, but our creative team is so good at finding a unique way to present information.’
BuzzFeed is pitching its ad offerings more widely to campaigns just as the media company debuted a new ad format at SxSW Interactive this spring. The company is labeling the new format ‘swarm.’ It centers on content creation for an array of different audiences targeted to multiple platforms in an effort to ‘light up the internet all at once.’
While that’s not the offering Our Principles PAC opted for (swarm is in beta), BuzzFeed is also marketing the swarm format to campaigns and advocacy groups.
Campaigns, like all advertisers, dream that their spots will explode across the Web. But that’s not the norm. Shapiro stressed that campaigns don’t need to be national or adopt a comedic tone in order to take advantage of BuzzFeed’s advertising offering. She noted a state Senate candidate in Wisconsin is investing in the service.

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