Thursday, June 14, 2007

"I Got A Crush...On Obama!" How Should Campaigns Respond To Voter Generated Content?"

Karen Russel (Huffington Post):

If you are running for president, how do you respond intelligently and effectively to "tribute videos and ads," like the new risqué "I Got A Crush.... On Obama" video? Should a campaign always distance itself from these types of ads or videos? Is "no comment" and "we didn't do it" the only viable responses to voter generated ads?

"I Got A Crush...On Obama"

Apparently Obamagirl missed the new "smart girls" like Obama and "girls with needs" like Hillary poll:

Clinton is drawing especially strong support from lower-income, lesser-educated women -- voters her campaign strategists describe as "women with needs." Obama, by contrast, is faring better among highly educated women, who his campaign says are interested in elevating the political discourse.
Obamagirl is very open with her "needs" when it comes to Obama. There's a lot of audacity in her hope as she sings about her crush on Obama. ABC News describes the video's open:
"Hey, 'B,' it's me," a woman who calls herself "Obamagirl" murmurs amorously into a phone at the beginning of the slow jam. "If you're there, pick up. I was just watching you on C-SPAN."

The song and video (which can be seen HERE) goes on to poke racy fun at the way some voters have responded viscerally to both Obama's charisma and the personal nature of his political appeal.

"You seemed to float onto the floor/Democratic convention 2004/I never wanted anybody more/than I want you," Obamagirl coos.

"Baby, I cannot wait/til 2008/Baby, you're the best candidate," she continues as she walks around New York City in various stages of undress, occasionally posing near life-size pictures of the lanky senator from Illinois.

Obama's campaign responds:

An Obama campaign official said its team had nothing to do with the video, but otherwise declined to comment.
Real or Fake? This video is "fake." Does that matter?

"I Got A Crush...On Obama" is a political version of "Lonely Girl." Obamagirl is an actress hired to have a crush on Obama.

ABC News continues:

As much as the news may break the hearts of thousands of Democratic men, Obamagirl, in reality, is not the pulchritudinous callipygian who riffs on policy with Akon-esque beats, singing "you're into border security/let's break this border between you and me/universal health care reform/it makes me warm."

Rather, she is a fictitious creation.

The song was performed by Leah Kauffman, a 21-year-old undergraduate at Temple University in Philadelphia, who wrote the lyrics with a friend, 32-year-old advertising executive Ben Relles, and the music with her producer, Rick Friedrich.

An actress/model named Amber Lee Ettinger then lip-synched the song for the video, shot by filmmakers found on Craigslist two hours before Relles and Ettinger hit New York City one Friday in May to shoot the video on a DV camera.

"Not including the hours we spent working on it, it probably cost a couple thousand dollars," said Relles, a graduate of the Wharton School of Business, who said he did it for fun, not money, but is also selling "Obamagirl" and "I Got a Crush on Obama" T-shirts.

Relles said his team had no contact at all with the Obama campaign.
"We hope it helps him, though," he adds.

Do these ads help or hurt? How can we tell if the ad comes from a friend or a foe? Does it matter?

Help is in the eye of the beholder. Does this video help or hurt Obama? There are bound to be many reactions:

○ That's funny!
○ That's not funny!
○ Hilary is behind that smear.
○ Young girls like Obama, not Hillary.
○ It's Bill Clinton's fault.
○ I bet Obama is secretly courting the hottie vote.
○ That video is racist.
○ That video isn't racist.
○ That Obama 1984 ad was better.
○ I prefer McCain's "Bomb Iran" video, etc.

Did the 1984 ad help or hurt Obama? Help or hurt Hilary?

Did the 1984 Obama ad mystery (that was solved on Huffpo here) ultimately help or hurt Obama? Help or hurt Hilary?

W.W.H.R.D? What Would Huffpo Readers Do?

If you ran a presidential campaign, what would you do? Will voter generated content always be a lose-lose for campaigns? How can campaigns handle and perhaps harness the power of voter generated content? Are these ads and videos better than what the pros are creating?

What say you?
Howie P.S.: Karen Russel saw Obama in Seattle last week (with her dad Bill the basketball star)and I believe she lives around here.

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