Advocacy Ads: The Blunter The Better

The Washington Post – In Washington, a CPA represents the newest measure of lobbying power. No–not that kind of CPA, but rather, cost-per-advocate, which is now the standard measure of trade groups hunting for legislative supporters. The average CPA is roughly $5, and it represents the amount the Moveon.orgs of the world have to pay to recruit a new back-home volunteer. You can depend on these people to send emails, make phone calls, or even make a house call to their Congressperson’s home. These little budding networks of outside-the-Beltway lobbyists have been a longtime staple of the practice, but the Web now makes recruitment easier than ever. The Web’s measurement also makes it easy to tweak these recruitment campaigns–by the hour if needed–and to personalize them by collecting basic data from users on their lists. This helps lobbying groups to market more effectively and save money. It also helps them identify the tone and type of spot that will be most effective for a given political association. “It turns out that ugly is better than pretty when it comes to lobbying commercials,” Washington Post columnist Jeffrey H. Birnbaum says. Organizations you might think would be effective at this, like the American Medical Association, aren’t. In fact, health Web sites bring in poorer results than game and puzzle sites. Also, commercials that are sarcastic or vague don’t play well with Web consumers. Ads with straightforward messages like “Save the U.S. healthcare system!” and “Frivolous lawsuits are raising costs for YOU!” get people to click the “Tell Congress” button in far greater numbers. – Read the whole story…

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