Basil Marceaux may not have won the Republican nomination for Governor of Tennessee but he certainly won the hearts and minds of internet users around the country. While established politicians weren’t taking notes of Marceaux’ campaign tactics, the precipitous ascent of his internet campaign videos should serve notice of the power of the Web and Youtube heading into 2010.
Outrageous sells on the internet. While most political ads may only receive thousands or only hundreds of views – with many Member’s floor speeches lucky to get out of the double-digits – an eye-catching, different video may garner millions of views. While campaigns may be hard pressed to tap the power of Susan Boyle’s rise to fame, or surpass Lady Gaga’s Youtube dominance, there are examples of politicians unleashing the potential of Youtube to change a campaign.
Many may remember Carly Fiorina’s “Demon Sheep” February attack advertisement against Tom Campbell, her opponent in the Republican primary for California’s Senate seat. This ad garnered more than 300,000 views and launched Fiorina into the national spotlight.
While Ned Lamont recently lost the Democratic nomination for Governor of Connecticut, this campaign ad, with more than 166,000 views, helped the businessman come out of anonymity to defeat Senator Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic Senate primary.
Lastly, while not a campaign ad, Obama’s speech on religion following the Reverend Jeremiah White attacks in 2008 garnered more than six million views. With a runtime of more than 37 minutes, it proves the public will watch any video they deem inspiring, funny or fresh.