|Campaign videos likely to persuade voters in elections|
|Written by Lee Strubinger, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Thursday, 29 March 2012 13:46|
In the two ever-important states of Ohio and Florida, President Obama has a slight lead over the assumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney, according to the Miami Herald. These two swing states are a must win to either stay or get into the White House.
In response to those numbers, President Obama has released his re-election campaign video “The Road We’ve Traveled,” a high production, 17-minute long documentary directed by Davis Guggenheim and narrated by actor and vocal supporter of Obama, Tom Hanks. This is not the first time a campaign video has been released and now with technology, they are even easier to promote.
“[Campaign videos] are extended ads and have been around for a long time. The only difference now is that they are released on YouTube and other social sharing sites rather than on TV,” Lane Crothers, professor in the department of politics and government, said.
The tradition of the campaign video goes all the way back to 1952, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was running for president. With tensions rising in Korea, his campaign created “The Man from Abilene,” showing old WWII footage and how Eisenhower was reliable in planning to end the “stalemate in Korea.”
“Campaign videos have been a regular part of political campaigns ever since we invented film,” Crothers said. “They became more prominent once television came into every home. They historically served as a way to introduce a candidate to the public in terms that the candidate wanted him or herself presented in.”
“The Road We’ve Traveled” documents the highlights of President Obama’s term in the White House so far. From bailing out the auto industry, to healthcare reform and the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, this video, along with the inspirational voice of Hanks, projects the highlights of his last four years, but experts say one should stay skeptical while watching.
“All campaign videos, like all commercials, are intended to make the star look good and the opposition look bad. As a consequence, they all highlight the best part of a candidate’s ideas and actions and ignore the worst parts,” Crothers continued. “The point is to present a good face to the public. They are no more or less true than any advertisement and should be viewed as such.”
Even though the campaign videos should be viewed with a grain of salt, they also serve a very important purpose during the campaign season.
“They serve multiple purposes,” Joseph Zompetti, professor in the School of Communication, said. “One of them is to mobilize the [party's] base.”
Zompetti went on to say that a particular presidential candidate may be popular with the public, but unless no one gets out and votes, it does not matter. Videos like “The Road We’ve Traveled” encourage supporters to vote and to donate money and time.
“The primary target audience is going to be current supporters of Obama,” Zompetti continued. “However, there will [be] some independents who have not decided if they are going to vote Democrat or Republican in the general election. That would be a secondary target audience.
“Many elections are won by a candidate’s ability to woo or convince those independents,” he said.
The third targeted audience is the declared opposition of a candidate.
Most who vote this way do so to send a message to their own party and are upset with the choices they have been given, Zompetti explained.