It’s no secret that Democrats want to turn the 2018 midterms into a referendum on Republican efforts to overhaul the health care system. The bigger mystery is how Democrats can do so most effectively.
On Tuesday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee offered one of the more innovative attempts yet, deploying an advertising strategy that is relatively new to the digital content creators and even newer for political party apparatuses.
The spot, which will target voters in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Instead of a traditional thirty-second clip, it optimizes viewer experiences by breaking the advertisement into six-second increments. And instead of being presented all at once on a single website, those six-second increments follow a user as he or she travels around the Internet. In other words, viewers will see the first part of the ad as they begin their day at thedailybeast.com. They will then see a second portion of the ad as they move on to a different website; and then a third portion of the ad as they go to yet another page.
This less disruptive format has been deployed by content providers seeking to grab viewer's attention in an age of Snapchat and short attention spans. But a DSCC official says this is the first time this cycle that they or any other committee has utilized the format. Google helped the committee utilize its technology, the official said.
In the spots released on Tuesday, the committee enacts a text conversation between a child and his or her mother, as they find themselves in an emergency room needing stitches. By the second clip, it’s revealed that the family has no insurance. By the third clip, it is pointed out that the Republican senator being targeted in the ad cast a vote that, it is suggested, slashed their insurance.
As a factual matter, the advertisements have their holes. The Republican-authored health-care bill never became law, despite the fact that the GOP senators being targeted by the DSCC voted for their nearly passed bill. A stronger argument would be that the Trump administration has made insurance more expensive because of its sabotage of Obamacare. But the DSCC is invested in regaining control of the Senate, not in unseating the president.
Still, the GOP-authored bill was projected to swell the ranks of the uninsured in addition to elevating premiums for the elderly and sick. And that is the message that DSCC is hammering home, now in a more innovative, digitally savvy way.
“The Republicans’ health care plan is striking Americans in their everyday lives and in their most challenging moments -- spiking their costs and stripping away coverage they are depending on so that big insurance companies can get another tax break,” said David Bergstein of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “This message reaches voters over a series of direct and compelling spots that tell the story of how the GOP agenda has hurt Americans and their families.”
The DSCC’s bumper flock ads are part of a larger, six figure, digital ad buy that has also featured six-second bumper YouTube ads and full screen Google takeover ads.