OMT One Man's Trash...from Norman Leahy

Wednesday, December 13, 2006 :::

Spreading Macaca

Waldo points us to a post at Wired which says the late, great Allen macaca moment didn't just happen. Like all good viral ads, it was worked pretty hard:

According to Vanden Berg, they chose to post the video on YouTube because it was free (simple enough). But before they tossed it out for the public to see, they'd already pitched the story to a Washington Post reporter, who wrote about it online on Monday. Only after the Post story appeared and the issue had been properly framed did the Webb folks send an email to their supporter list and to friendly bloggers.

The fact that the video was on YouTube made it particularly easy to distribute, since bloggers could insert it directly into their pages, but it was the campaign's promotional work that spread the word.

And as the story developed, they constantly worked reporters and bloggers behind the scenes to shape the public discussion.

That's shrewd marketing. Of course, it helps to have willing messengers. And the WaPo and assorted Webbish bloggers were only too happy to carry said message as often as possible. Meanwhile, the Allen campaign was doing whatever it did...which was only making matters worse.

Interesting, though, is the role of bloggers in all this, and what their talking points may have said. I mentioned some weeks ago that I cringed every time the Allen campaign would send a note out to their list and, soon afterwards, very similar posts would appear on a handful of sites.

Now, it seems, the Webb folks were doing the same. The very great difference, however, is that they did it far earlier, and with greater skill, than the Allen team. And it made a real difference.

If anyone has learned anything at all from this race, it's that bloggers can be useful campaign tools.

Is that what bloggers want themselves to be? I'm sure some do and are happy to be of service.

Which also would mean that blogs are not a new, cutting edge medium at all. Rather, they simply put a new face on old strategies.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/13/2006 2 comments


"You know what the fellow said: In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they also produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love -- they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." -- Orson Welles, The Third Man

"The graveyards are full of indespensable men" -- Charles de Gaulle

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