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Hey there, it's the NPR politics podcast. I must not call it. I cover the presidential campaign and I'm Kelsey smell like over Congress and Kelsey. You've been working on a series of special episodes that break down how political campaigns work. I know last time you talked about different ways that campaigns raise money in the past couple of weeks. We have seen this onslaught of cash that has been infused into the presidential campaign. So today we'll just focus on where that money goes, you know, and a lot of that money goes into a political ad I wanted to figure out what add makers are thinking about when they're going about putting together these commercials that we see running online and on TV and I think what you'll not be too surprised to learn that have a lot of what they do and a lot of the choices that they make has everything to do with how much money they had money. I guess that that should be expected. But what exactly do you well let me introduce you to Isaac Baker he works for the firm akpd they make a sword in Minecraft and before that he worked on ads for President Obama's real life.
In another campaigns we were talking about how much it would cost right now to run an ad in the city like Miami an ad in the Miami Media Markt that will be fiercely contested in the presidential election to fully it'll burn in and out what we would call saturate one TV ad could cost the campaign's around a million dollars for one ad no matter what national campaign is a presidential a million dollars is what it takes to get a message across that in mind and it's just staggering. It's a staggering amount of money that it cost a lot of money is it to be about a million dollars for multiple runs of the SAT for about a week. He says it's just a burn that into people's mind. Yeah, you know a big part of a political ad maker job is to figure out how to make the best commercial defeat that budgets your friend Davis is a GOP lawmakers pretty famous and Republican circles for making the claims of had two people. Just don't forget you spent twenty years making commercials for products before he realize that
Could use those same techniques to self politicians either funny or their emotional or they stand out or they're dumb whatever they are. If there's a specific reason for that to get people to watch him. So because politicians never have as much money as Bank of America are Ford Motor Company or anything and yet you're on the same Airwaves and an ad for David Perdue might follow an ad for Ford Motor company has to look as good but it has to be done on a much lower budget. He mentioned David Perdue. He is a sitting US senator republican from Georgia and I want you to keep that name in your mind Purdue. Can we be talkin about another Purdue a little bit later and you know, the reason I wanted to talk to Davis and Baker is because they really approach add making an almost opposite ways. Davis wants to make ads that go viral those things that you know, you see on the internet over and over and over again that you share in slack or you text to a friend he was
Really making things go big and viral before we were even using that work and on the other side Baker thinks the best political ad is the one that delivers a straightforward message that people will understand and connect with a what you really need to do is just deliver a basic set of facts and you need to inform people because they're plenty of races where it's not the presidential it's not a race that gets a lot of attention but voters need to know certain facts and information about both candidates to make a choice and you're helping them make that choice a beautiful ad that really can be memorable but doesn't leave you with a clear understanding of who this person is or what the choices in this race hasn't done its job and add that's just memorable for the sake of being memorable, but doesn't leave you with a court conviction about these candidates for this race.
Hasn't been effective. I can take a hit. I've got a plate and screws in my neck. Approve it example of what system for Colin Allred he was running the two years ago to challenge a longtime GOP House member Pete Sessions in Texas is there aren't benefits if you love paid throughout their lives and they deserve to have that promise kept them. I'm Colin Allred and I approve this message code already won that race, right? Yeah. So like this is not the kind of thing where you like our parking up and watching it and sharing it with a friend. What do you want is a sitting member of Congress right now who defeated a republican in Texas, but I'll just kind of comes back to money at 4 Davis Heating speaker strategy works, but really only when you have a ton of cash on him and he's made a lot of these viral.
I have been pretty controversial. If you have the most money, you can take a traditional standard approach like that. But if you don't you're going to have to do something differently approaches not without controversy, even some Republicans have you know, I have worried that this approach to making ads, you know makes it it I've heard one Republican described it as it makes it a cheaper political campaign. What do you think about that? I don't think my job is to get somebody to win to get somebody to win when eyeballs. I want people not just Kelsey seen it on TV and going over. I might like that person. I wanted to be so different and unique that Kelsey goes to work the next day and is telling all her friends and sitting around the coffee pot or the water cooler and everybody's talking about it. All right, what would you take a quick break and we get back. Let's hear one of those viral ads that people just couldn't stop talking about
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And we're back and Kelsey we've gone through the logic of how these two types of ads are made. But one thing I'm curious about is, you know how involved the candidates are in the process of desert personality influences all yeah. I asked both Baker and Davis May said, it kind of depends on the candidate someone of your really involved and others kind of sign on and let the add Maker's do their thing before they have to pick their ideas of the candidate was Baker described as a loving relationship. It is almost like a first date. It's like do I feel a connection with this person? Is this someone who kind of shares my values do we get along? Can I see texting with this person late at night over a big decision we have to make and those are the kinds of things. You know, what second part had in part heart that candidates are looking for that has to be complicated and it also has to be complicated on your end because what if you don't drive with them, I mean it has it happened. There are times where you walk out of a meeting and you say
Well, if we don't get this I'll be relieved because that person seemed like a jerk.
Design, it says Okay, so the candidate and the ad maker they make it past this first date that he's describing and then they're working together. So how does the ad maker convince said candidate that a potentially kind of wacky idea is really the right one and I'm actually no more thinking of David's here because I know he's the one who's known for making viral at are so he kind of took me on a journey back to 2002 and told me a story about the secretary of agriculture Sonny Perdue and how they created this kind of crazy add that really got people talking. So just a little bit of background at the time Purdue was running for governor, and he really wasn't getting anywhere. So one night over dinner Davis pitches something kind of insane that we're going to win because of a 50 ft tall rat rampaging the state that is an idea that nobody wanted to hear it was like the only idea
I had and after we went around the table and nobody really had a better idea. He got to Sonny and he slammed his newspaper in his hand and he said he would build me a rat and 30 days later. He had a rap Nation here is like are they talking about a physical rat being honest with you? Yeah, and you made this like a really long video and it was I mean, it's kind of crazy. George is more than a state. It's an icon. Basically it was basically a mini movie depicting the governor at the time Roy Barnes a Democrat as a giant rat. He was like wearing a gold crown and a necklace and let this happen.
Who let our beloved State Collapse by abusing his power to keep himself and his party in office.
Google politics ahead of the people. He just call him King Raleigh State Capitol and drinking wine and eating steak and kind of they were trying to frame him. As you know, this guy was abusing his power after the premiere of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the front page ran this huge six-column picture of ours brat kissing the capitol Dome and nobody even knew who Sonny Perdue was I didn't know his name but this headline and giant type above-the-fold was Purdue calls Governor rat. So these are ideas Kelsey. Of course it worked or I wouldn't be telling this story and he did become governor and we ended up spending through the general about 3 and 1/2 Million Dollars vs 24 million dollars and we still won.
So is that all because of the Rat know the rat got things going with the rat got people wanting to know more about Sunny there's a new day. It's going to be sunny and bright because of the market but also because of the coronavirus so add makers are having to completely rethink how they reach people. What we're finding on the advertising side is that people are consuming more media than ever before they're watching more TV particularly cable news, which is a huge ratings increases and they're watching more online video. And so those are like growth areas for us when we say, alright, what's the best way for us to reach voters and compensate for the fact that we are not doing as much door-to-door campaigning definitely pulling more of our money into advertising is effective and there's some interesting Trends because of covid-19.
More TV but there's fewer new programming because the big networks haven't been able to produce new programming because of the virus. So what are we seeing? We're seeing a massive increase in viewership of live sports. So baseball football is just coming back. The basketball playoffs are doing incredible viewership numbers and it's one of the few places that you can reach really big broad Mass audiences. And so the networks are not dumb and all of a sudden they look at these ratings the same as we do and now the ads for a Dallas Cowboys game, you know in the Dallas Market they are they want to charge us $50,000 for 1/32 heads. You think you were, you know going on the Super Bowl. So there's a ton of money in this election, but it now cost a ton of money to try to catch people's eyeballs and hold them long enough to actually deliver a message and that's become a real challenge for campaigns these last few months. So tell me this just sounds like gobs of money, but you know are like online videos cheaper and and I guess I asked that in part because I feel like I
Your campaigns couch so much there online video unilad presents this election cycle. Yeah online videos are a really big part of what people are trying to do. The pricing is different but the challenges that people are really used to just skipping ads when it comes up on YouTube or on some other way that they're watching online. So that's a completely different challenge to try to surmount understand it as quite a bit myself that is it for today. But you have one more special episode come out, right? Yeah next time we're going we talkin about pulling and how campaigns use it to inform their decision. All right. Well, we will be back tomorrow in your feet and our regular time. I must my solid I cover the presidential campaign and I'm Kelsey smell like over Congress and thank you for listening to the NPR politics podcast.