A few years ago, Alan Grayson suggested we use a mobile billboard– a truck with billboards mounted on them like the ones on this page– in a campaign we were doing to help defeat Buck McKeon. Grayson was right about the efficacy of the mobile billboards compared to far more expensive TV advertising… and Blue America has been doing it ever since. (The powerful and entrenched McKeon was thought to be invincible and the DCCC refused to work against him, but he nearly lost and got so scared that he would the next time that he unexpectedly retired and started a lobbying firm.) We have 4 trucks on the road now– for Carol Shea-Porter in New Hampshire, Tom Wakely in Texas, DuWayne Gregory on Long Island and for Ruben Kihuen in Nevada. The only candidate the DCCC is helping at all is Ruben… mostly because Harry Reid and the Nevada unions are forcing them to. If you'd like to help us expand our fleet of trucks– we're dying to get one up to Zephyr Teachout's district and one down to Doug Applegate's district (the guy running against Issa)– please contribute to our IE Committee here (that Independent Expenditure).
Yesterday, Grayson sent out an alert to everyone on his mailing list about our efforts. “in key races around the country,” he wrote, “Blue America PAC is sponsoring 'mobile billboards' (trucks) to help progressives win. Would you like to pay for the gas money?”
In elections, there are only two things that matter:
(1) What the voters see, and,
(2) What the voters hear.
(Until, of course, television is replaced by smellovision, and the candidates can appeal to that all-important third sense. With cinnamon, perhaps, or in the case of Donald Trump, eau de skunk.)
In advertising, each time a member of the audience sees or hears something, that’s called an impression. Political advertising, like all advertising, tries to maximize impressions.
TV advertising spots– seeing and hearing, for 30 seconds– have completely dominated political “messaging” for a generation now. In fact, one very successful Florida elected official told me that TV ads are “the only thing that matters.”
That very likely was true 40 years ago, when there was CBS, NBC, ABC and very little else. But today, a lot of people aren’t watching TV at all, except maybe for news and sports. (“57 channels and nothing on.”- The Boss.) And for those who still do watch TV, the audience is completely fragmented. The most-watched TV series last year drew precisely 6% of all Americans.
So how does a candidate “deliver the message”? Where are those eyes and ears?
Well, people still see billboards.
Blue America PAC is reaching voters where they live, in their neighborhoods, with “mobile billboards” delivering progressive messages for progressive candidates. Please help this unique national effort– every dollar counts.
Political media consultants won’t quote you prices “per impression.” Because if they did, candidates would run screaming into the night. A 30-second TV spot can cost more than $1 per targeted voter. Billboards? Less than a penny.
But . . . a regular billboard is seen only by the people who drive by it. If you want to reach a good chunk of the 700,000+ people in a congressional district, you have to go to them. And that is exactly what Blue America PAC is doing, with its national mobile billboard program, for progressive candidates only.
And no one else is doing it. Not the Super PACs. Not the political parties. Not even the candidates themselves.
Most progressive candidates start their campaigns with roughly the same name recognition that they had at birth– their families know who they are, and very few others. In many House races where the Democratic nominee is a progressive, the voters don’t even know that he or she is a progressive. In fact, unless the candidate has $1 million to spend, most voters don’t even know the candidate’s name.
Blue America PAC is changing that, with its mobile billboards. Please pitch in $15, $40, $75 or more, and help elect true progressive all around America
Rep. Alan Grayson
“I can pull up by the curb.
I can make it on the road.
I can stop in any street,
And talk with people that we meet.
Keep me movin'.
Out in the woods,
Or in the city,
It's all the same to me.
When I'm drivin' free,
The world's my home.
When I'm mobile.”
-The Who, “Goin’ Mobile” (1971).
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis