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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 14, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm EST

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progress on to 2.0, i would actually say my role is the least in 2.0 around the convention. the rnc started to step up. you have coa operations. you have people that have a big implementation what's going to be done. at this point, we're just -- 2.0 turned into fund-raising, less into media operations and persuasion. 3.0 turned into kind of the -- what i would consider the closest to what have i done for 20 years, a media conquest of trying to bring home the vote. you have to understand the three things to ask the right question. >> you had a candidate who famously talked a lot about how he didn't need data early on. >> he didn't need it in 1.0. >> things like that. was it you that was doing any of the convincing to say, we do need to bring on data? we do need data in this campaign? what turned that tide? >> if you ask mr. trump today,
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he would still say he could win it. i think that there was other people within -- jkushner who i e ivanka's husband and mr. trump said -- he didn't real it out. he just said, make me believe. i think that's something he now does. the 1.0 was different. i think at that point, what mr. trump's message during media and those things, it was an important role as 1% here and there to win certain states. it wasn't the overarching thing driving the campaign in version 1. in version 2, the significant thing, digital operation brought the turn key digital fund-raising in a few days. that partnership came with the relationship with the rnc, individuals out here who made me look really smart. the people from the rnc stepped
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in to help us build this fund-raising opportunity. we ended up raising over $260 million online. i think that was an important step of that. then 3.0 things changed again. >> one thing you guys did -- you brought a lot of people together, like you said, in a very short time. how did so many different minds come together, work well together in such a short time? a lot of different people. campaigns bring different egos. what worked best in such a short time? what strategy -- who brought what to the table? >> well, i think all things take different types of leaders. i had a great leader above me, donald trump. who obviously doesn't have a lot of room for error. then you have the second one, kushner and myself. i think we -- all of those leaders are people who let talented people do their work. there was a lot of things i had
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heard about previous campaigns when i would come in. i had no preconceived notion how things were supposed to operate. i would ask a lot of questions. why are you doing this? why do you think i should do this? one thing i heard was, to get an e-mail out the door, get content approved, there was 14 people in the last campaign had to approve it. our campaign, there was just one, myself. for most of the content. i could approve content that was going to go out the door. mr. trump and mr. kushner entrusted me to do so. i didn't needed to have every single piece of content, if it was within the means of what our campaign goals are. so i think simplifying that approval process is one example of how we streamlined operations so we could move forward. by the end of the campaign, i had dictated other people. i said you have the ability to approve this now. don't mess it up. >> you faced -- i sat in a forum not like this but similar to
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this a few months before the campaign. i think it was august. they were criticizing the trump campaign. it was a republican-based forum. they were worried that they were going to lose. there was criticism of the trump campaign. they were worried targeting was going wrong. they were worried there was a lot that wasn't being done right in the digital forum to have the republican candidate win. how do you think -- how have you interacted with your peers now and how do you see politics that you have changed republican politics for the future? >> the good thing i didn't have peers in political digital. i didn't know everybody thought i wasn't doing a good job until i read it in the newspaper. to the entire campaign, i made zero initiative to make any of the marketing about myself until i think jared in the bloomberg article that came out -- it was a couple weeks before.
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that was the first time i had officially talked to the press, other than you. it was a month before, right? we gave away little bits. people didn't know what we had running. it wasn't unless the end people understood, heck, we had a huge operation. there was a lot of things we did -- you ccan you hear me? significantly different. the entire campaign for the last couple months ran around digital and data. meaning, where mr. trump went on the ground, where we bought our media, how we bought our shows, how we bought -- how we made our tv commercials, the rnc -- i was the r nc liaison as well. i met and became the center point of how the ground game was going to operate from a budg budgetary standpoint. i tried to explain this on tv. you only have 90 seconds to explain it.
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if you look at the campaign previously with people above it. this time, the campaign ran in a circle that was around the data. by doing so, our universes and our people didn't have to double work. we had a third of the money or half the money that hillary clinton did. so we didn't want to do the same work twice. i would sit there with the political director and say, we're doing this here, we're doing this here. what money do we need to spend? how are we going to make these phone calls? i can't imagine many decisions where the digital director was making the budget decisions. that was a significant difference. i didn't perfectly eyeball that. we got pretty dang close. we ended the last day with just a few hundred thousand dollars in the bank. including that two-minute commercial we produced. getting that in the right spoeshl media spots to try to get last persuadable targets over. if you look at that and that central point of view, that was a significant change.
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the other thing i stated multiple times is we spent 50% on digital. that's a big change. at harvard, the dnc was happy to tell me that they didn't think they needed to spend more money on digital. they spent plenty. i would have spent more on digital. i think all the data shows clearly that mr. trump had a huge impact with digital social media and advertising. but you can cannot spend on tv. you couldn't just -- that would have on every newspaper, brad messes everything up, he spends all money on digital and we lost. all of us wouldn't be happy if i had done that. had you to have a balance. >> it's ease yiy to play the hindsight game. we're going to play it. when you look back, can you say,
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we won because of data? or did we win because of the message? how do you -- >> it's easy to say why we won. donald trump. >> do you balance those things out now? do you say, two years from now if we look at mid terms, what do you advise future campaigns to do? what do you -- >> what's funny is i didn't have any previous campaign experience, which either made me really good or just really badz at bad at explaining this question. when i got into political advertising, this might go to -- i don't know how many digital people here and people have to get into creative. one thing that was different was i never looked at media in a way of being in the content being produced so line item the way political people looked at it. i always go back -- i was lucky enough to be in the dotcom boom in the late '90s. i remember one one thing that for all electronics did back
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then. you got two types of advertising. back then, everybody remembers the ipod came out. you had the zoom or whatever the other thing was from microsoft. so they would advertise their items. you would see line numbers. the fastest processor. what did apple do? apple showed a picture of a woman, a microphone, a silhouette no color, dancing and said, if you buy this ipod, you will feel this way. we were like, greatest product ever. it didn't explain what was in it. anyone know what's in an ipod? apple is never going to tell us what was in there. we knew how it would make us feel. what i didn't understand about political advertising was, you try to sell candidates by the pros and cons of them instead of what you are going to feel like if you voted for them. if you look at our advertising, it was based off the emotional feel of what it meant if donald trump would win. how it would change your life. people vote like they perfect things. they vote with their emotions.
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i think that political marketing started to get in the same bad problems that other companies got into advertising, which was start to sell the pieces. we have this four pieces. you have three pieces. you have three -- we're positive one. we win. unfortunately, humans don't think that way. think about that original ipod commercial. why was it so amazing? it was amazing because we just wanted to feel that happy. i believe voters wanted to feel that happy. if you watch the commercial or the change commercial or choice commercial, there was fur tiew we went into the details. no, let's not tell about the details. mr. trump is going to bring change. he's going to make people feel better about being in america and make the country feel -- it's great again. i think that's important. that's how i think people think. that's how we make consumer decisions. why wouldn't we make our political decisions the same way? that was one of the most significant things i just didn't understand why it was a line item contest when no other great
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products sell that way. that's a very consumer side view. you asked me what i brought over. >> true. in an election where we had a lot about twitter, a lot abo about -- a lot of content on the internet, did you ever wish that donald trump hadn't tweeted? about something in particular. or maybe distracted from the news day or distracted from the message you were trying to get out that day. >> i was never distracted from the message. do i wish, you know -- was my life ever complicated by things that happened on the campaign? yes. it's a very tough question. luckily, it's not my job to solve those communication problems. however, it was perfect and he is a genius because he won. if the goal was 270 and he won, then he won. i never played sports all those
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years and said i only won by one. i played bad. >> hindsight, again, but you do a lot of things in campaigns. there's always things that don't work. you still win. what didn't work? you still won. but what are things out there that just -- >> what didn't work? >> okay. we still won. >> youtube worked beautifully. you know -- what didn't work? we didn't have enough money. wish we had more of it. >> what are things out there that looked like new and shiny toys but maybe aren't the newest and shiniest toys? >> you know, i think what doesn't work in politics and my personal opinion is this, i think live calls don't work. i just think they're worklethle. i think romney made 200 million live calls and we made 2 million. i couldn't understand that. i'm not in the political decision.
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that wasn't my decision to make those. i felt dollar for dollar, digital money went further. i feel like there's this thing, we have to do everything. we have to sprinkle money here and there. let's double everything. no one starts a business and goes let's double everything because we have endless money. no. do this because it makes us the most money. let's not do this because it loses money. that's a consumer thing. let's spend money everywhere. why don't we spend money where it works? i pulled from phone budgets as much as i could and to other things. i think traditional mail has its place. i think however we spent less -- i think $50 million or $60 million less than romney there. i think -- i don't flow if we spent more in digital. i'm sure we did. i think tv and digital and messaging and gotv were very important. it's hard for me to say with a didn't work because we won. we won almost every state we
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competed for but colorado. a mistake i made in colorado, i should have spent more money earlier. didn't expect how many people were going to mail in their votes, like 44% in the first few days. i thought people were naturally going to be lazier than that. i didn't expect that. that's a big enough the first week. i thought i had more time. i think it happens to me a couple days after a couple videos came out. it was like timing. >> let's talk about fake news. it's a buzzy topic. did it ever as you were going throughout the campaign -- >> don't talk about the "washington post" like that. >> did it ever -- did fake news help or hurt the candidate? was it something you talks about as it was being spread on different sites? >> you know, i have some pretty harsh comments about this. i said at harvard and everybody at the dnc almost fell out of their chair, i think i spent most of my time fighting the
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largest super pac in the country, mainstream media. sorry to say that. i know you are at "the wall street journal," which i respect. i think that the media bias was horrible throughout the campaign. i think i was called a racist, m misogynous. i was a white supremacist because i was born in kansas. i didn't know born in a state classified you into a genre of people. i think that it was -- it's sad what the media did. i think fake news and what people -- it's not a hard line. everything in life is a gray area. i think all media has somehow -- has not a sense of truth to it. there's people who write all truth. and then there's people who write opinion. there's people that write to make money. somewhere is a line in between that. i think that's probably a first amendment thing. i'm not a person that makes those choices, luckily, because i'm not a politician.
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i think at some point the consumer has to make a choice no different than if i go in and does that tv really -- is it better than the other tv? it's up to me to make the choice. when you get online, you should recognize that not everything you right might be true. you should get yourself educated. i think as americans, we have a responsibility to believe what we believe and not believe what other people say. maybe i just have a different view of that. i think that we can't expect everyone around us to be perfect. we should try to do what we do is right. >> we talked about how you brought your business experience to politics. what do you think businesses should learn from campaigns and stuff like that? >> what businesses should learn from campaign snz thats? >> they have a set deadline. >> there's definitely a set deadline. >> any lessons? >> lessons of business to politics?
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i don't think i've ever been asked that. think of what i learned in politics. i think i learned that -- it's different. i feel like in business, the media is kind of your friend. in politics i learned that they will -- completely not your friend. there's so much more emotion in it and opinion. in the business, the writer doesn't go i want to destroy your small restaurant business. let me take this down because i hate your food. it's just like -- it doesn't happen. you are like, we're all friends. you can write a nice story. if you don't like my food, maybe you -- you could write a negative story, you don't like the food. it's not so personal. the one thing i learned -- first i thought a few reporters i met were my friends. then they terrorized me and called me names. i guess you don't like me. that was lesson one. that didn't have anything to do with business. that doesn't exist on the other side.
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i didn't know that was a thing. now i do. what else did i learn? it was really nice to have a really big budget. to show what you can do. the beautiful thing about politics and from marketing was, i've been doing this nearly 20 years. i never had the opportunity to have this big of a game. i could show the different skill sets i have and bring teams together. i think that was an amazing experience and a little bit of luck mixed with a lot of hard work. it's weird to be sitting up here after all these years. that's a very humbling experience and it's exciting. businesses can learn -- sometimes you should spend money to make it. there's no reason to put money on the day after. i think businesses are so scared sometimes to spend it all to make it, that they make choices that are a little weaker, because they don't want to spend it. what happens if they don't make it? in politics it you don't have a day after. it's other people's money.
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there's this certain difference of opinion. i think businesses can learn from that. maybe we should spend a million dollars in advertising on this. maybe we will make ten. i think it's a different risk/reward program. >> final question. what's next for you? are you moving to d.c.? are you staying in -- going back to san antonio? >> no. i think that san antonio would be a unique experience to return to now. i have an apartment in new york. i plan on spending time in new york. i'm close to the family. i will continue to work with the family. i got a lot of great people i learned along the journey -- like i said before, you know, i think -- there's new
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opportunities and new experiences available. i think all those people did amazing things. i think there's a lot of room for us to go out and show other people what we did. if anyone can actually really look and see how we did this, some of the meetings with garrett, me, matt, gary, and see what we did and how much we did, i think they would be shocked and just -- we got a lot done with a little team. dnc probably had 100 people for every ten of ours. but i think a couple things. one, people felt more connected, they had more pride. it's amazing when you get a group of people that feel so driven to do something that doesn't take a lot of team to do that. i think i take one of those people against ten people who it's just a job. you saw that in the republican group. the rnc instead of a team that was just ready for that and when trump came along it was a perfect opportunity that we didn't have that team. all of a sudden we could come together. i think when those people -- i'm
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excited to see what they do and what i can do with them. good? >> thank you so much. >> thank you. [ applause ] >> go get a drink. brad said he is going to stick around. i know you will have -- people have questions for you. next up we're going do this in silicon valley style. next up is daniel hewey. >> hello. can you hear me now? okay. this cycle i managed the independent expenditure program. i have a handful of things i want to show you here. mostly about the mentality of how we approached our advertising this cycle. some simple principals we stuck
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to that i thought served us very well. none of this is rocket science. these are very old problems getting worse all the time. the solutions are all extremely simple. everyone in this room understands. the devil is in the details and implementing and executing. things we always talk about, more clutter than ever before. audiences all over the place 07on different screens and more ways to buy these types of media. our solutions, three basic principals that guided us. targeting the same audiences in the same screens and staying consistent throughout our advertising. the first one, we used the same voter file, found our target audience, the same voeter set. two things, one allows you to
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compare apples to apples about the most efficient way to serve an impression to a target audience. allowed us to measure total message penetration across screens. this is one of the more novel pieces that's very difficult to execute once you get into the nitty-gritty of it. owe fis efficiency is great. everyone talks about data and being hypertargeted. on television, you are talking to a very small percentage of the audience. you are not buying wasteful advertising. online, you might have your left-handed lithuanian audience. you can't penetrate a message. there's a bias towards efficiency we need to move way from a little bit. second of all we fight about as a broadcast impression the same as a digital impression. that's the wrong argument to be having. we should talk about
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attentiveness of impressions. sorry, but a passive banner ad is a yard sign. it's the same -- it's a television yard sign during daytime news. no one is watching it. there's a place for that at a certain price. we should place a premium on advertising such as true view that people opt in to and are paying attention to. that's why live sports is more important on television by far. video on demand is true view on television. we invested a lot in that. the final piece is holistic media plans. instead of saying the media budget is x, there will go to tv, this will go to digital, we set, let's allocate budget to the thing the media is best at. best at generating reach on broadcast, talking to a bunch of people. the ability to scare down to reach frequency to your target audience has financial diminishing returns. a lot of times we would have
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situations where we would have 500 broadcast points that we would go approximately five impressions to our target audience. then we would use cable and a tremendous amount of targeted digital for the same audience so we were getting close to 45 or 50. the guiding principal we had was to change our creative messages noted based on a television point level, a true viewpoint, but a holistic delivery of impressions to the audience. creative consistency. everyone understands this principal. everyone understands the idea of having a theme. everyone understands the value of characters and stories. everyone here is probably rolling their eyes a little bit. the reality is we don't do this very often in politics. it requires commitment to something in particular. i think in order to cut through -- this is what we're competing against more so than
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the other side. i think that we need to stick to the principal as often as possible. two states that -- one was in pennsylvania, we had a bike messenger carrier who carried almost all of our spots. we had a complicated message. he was able to hold people's attention long enough to deliver a very complex message effectively over time. we did another example -- i don't have it up here, but the more creative example in ohio where we had a fake newscast. we had an actress. she went to several states to show the places. this idea of having a character have a consistent brand across all digital and television advertising helps you deliver a message. proof is in the pudding. senate majority pac aired their own bike messenger ad saying ours was evil. that's how you know it works. our tag line was shady katey mcginty. in a basketball game, st. joe's
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a week after the election, the student body was trolling the other student body using our shady katie tag line because that was her tag line. it was as simple as these are the colors, the fonts, the look and feel of everything all the way up to our geico gecko. it takes early planning. it takes committing to the idea by the whole team. it takes a tremendous a. research. we all agree on the problems. we agree on the solutions. the devil is in the details. committeei in committing to research and budgets up front is the name of the game. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you for holding this. the next panel up here with andrea, chase, michael and peter. while they come up, this year was the first year that we saw political ads hit the oyoutube
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leader board. political ads are flown for being bad content. they focus on the top ten performing ads online, whether organic or have advertising behind it. this year, the cycle, we had five political ads hit the youtube leader board. i will show of them to you today. we have kicked off with a two-minute closing ad from trump. we will show you one from another presidential candidate. i will scholl you thrhow you th the senate campaigns. there's a theme here that daniel hit on. i will see if you can figure out the theme from the three senate ads shown after this one. ♪ >> i understand that when the mainstream media covers immigration, it doesn't often see it as an economic issue. but i can tell you, it's a very personal economic issue.
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and i will say the politics of it would be very, very different if a bunch of lawyers or bankers were crossing the rio grande, or if a bunch of people with journalism degrees were coming over and driving down the wages in the press. then we would see stories about the economic calamity that is befalling our nation. if i'm elected president, we will triple border patrol, we will build a wall that works. we will secure the border. i'm ted cruz and a prove ei apps message. ♪ oh, say can you see ♪ by the dawn's early light >> holly was 21 when she died. we lose 129 kids a day to
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heroin. the only person that i have seen standing up there screaming almost daily is senator portman. he gives as much time and energy and love to this as any of us parents who have lost. he truly listens. and tries to implement plans that make a difference. c.a.r.a. is an important step in what's happening. i know it will save lives. i'm so thankful that we have senator portman on our side on this. >> throughout his career, john mccain has been a true friend to our hispanic community. he has fought for comprehensive immigration reform, for good education for our children and for our small businesses. i urge you to vote on november 8th and you urge you to vote for my friend, john mccain.
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>> my name is nicole craig. >> i'm kevin craig. >> we live in green bay, wisconsin, with grace, who just came home from the democratic republic of congo. 25 children died waiting to come home. there wasn't clear reasons as to why the children couldn't leave. these adaptions were completed. they were final. we had to go to washington. we had a strong player in senator johnson. he is a father and a grandfather and he was going to whatever he could to get these kids home. >> dear nicole, thank you for visiting and sharing your story. hopefully we can find a solution so you can bring elisebeth grace home. you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. i can't tell you how that felt. i don't think i believed it. then having senator johnson show up, that was just the icing on the cake for us. i knew at that point that it was as important to him for her to come home that it was to us.
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>> i'm ron johnson and i approved this message. >> come on up here senate panel. each of those ads showed a story and told a story. some of them barely featured the candidate. hopefully, we will have everyone on this panel talk about the ads. >> betsy managed -- managed the wisconsin senate campaign that took us all by surprise this fall. ron johnson pulled off a come from behind win. chase campbell, a digital advertising specialist whose resume includes two races that should have been on the most competitive list. we hardly think of him because of the incredible work behind the scenes for mitch mcconnell in 2014 and rob portman in 2016.
quote quote
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michael duncan, a digital strategist with cavalry. races like indiana senator-elect todd young and arizona senator john mccain's re-election. michael got list start working for campaigns like mike lee and ted cruz for freedom works. peter who manage one -- another one of the most uphill races of the 2016 cycle for pennsylvania senator pat toomey. we want to talk about the ads we saw. >> the grace ad that you saw was something that had been in the works for a long time. we did a lot of research early on identifying the constituents in the stories that we wanted to tell. we knew this was going to be an uphill battle. we knew we were going to be out raced and out spent. we knew we needed to be creative and think outside the box and really be scrappy. we also knew that they were
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going to try to paint johnson as a cold hearted millionaire who only cares about special interests and billionaires. we got ahead of it. we did our research early. we had someone on our team in-house whose sole job was to make sure that we captured c constituent stories like this one. this was a spot that did ultimately end up on television. the original intent was to have it just be on digital. when we got the footage, it was very powerful, as you saw. so we decided to really run with it. ultimately, we had a two-minute video, a 60-second video and 30-second video. those we did on digital and on youtube. then ultimately we ran it on tv. we did have that running towards women on youtube on a low burn from the minute it went up through election day. we saw with the youtube brand lift with the survey, it was
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folks who watched it two times were 16% more likely to vote for ron johnson. it was a great story to tell. it served the purpose. something we were proud of. >> republicans talked about a shift in advertising strategy in the race towards the end as people were shifting resources around. is that part of that? >> you know, from the get go, we knew that we were going to be outraced and outspent. we talked about spending early. we did do a lot of things early in terms of laying the groundwork. but ultimately, we knew that we were going to largely be on our own. we knew that we were going to be outspent in the long run. while we did do things early and lay the groundwork, we really did save a lot of our budget for post labor day. this was part of that kind of post labor day reset that we did once folks in wisconsin were not
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enjoying the summertime anymore and were back kind of paying attention, we really hit the ground running. we laid a lot of the ground work early to make sure we were ready to do that. >> but about this time in 2014, the executive director ward baker, showed them a slide show of technology changes since last time they had run in 2010 and told them the most successful campaigns of 2014 spent five types as much on digital as the average campaigns. they recommended spending 30% of its budget on digital. you were part of that, including richard shelby. can you tell us what that means? what aspects of a modern campaign are covered under digital? >> what aspects of a modern campaign? you know, i think if you go back
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to 2010, you know, people saw digital as part of the comms department. we took the press release and posted it on facebook or twitter. that was it. that's a victory. right? then people started to realize the potential for digital to raise money. so then it became also part of the fund-raising operation. then people started to be really invested in list building and that sort of thing. then people started to realize that the way media consumption trends are shifting that more eyeballs were on digital than all these other platforms. so the ability to get reach in frequency was so huge that now it was a huge part of the advertising budget. because it was part of the advertising budget it can be part of the data. digital really went from being
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on the periphery to being kind of the thing that touches everything. right? i think successful campaigns, whether it's richard shelby who we worked on in his primary or todd young or mccain or portman, you know, or ron johnson or toomey, recognized that a digital aspect of the campaign needs to be at the ground level. i used to work at harris media with my buddy here chase. i remember that portman's campaign -- if you want to know how invested rob portman was in the success of his digital operation, rob portman called me and vince -- vincent harris on christmas day -- on christmas day to hire us. because it was that important that he have that part of the campaign locked up two years before his election. there aren't a lot of candidates out there that recognize how critical the digital component of a campaign and starting early
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kind of gives you that leg up. >> they will need to get on it right now. chase, when we talk about paid digital advertising, that's something the portman campaign got a ton of credit for. did it early, often, slice and dice the electoral and delivered tailored messages. how did you do that? >> yeah. i don't know if you can hear me. the senator, as michael was saying, was very concerned with starting as early as he possibly could. we began building his online audience and his e-mail list and began controlling the message on search as soon as we could begin spending money. i think coming off of 2014 and the success that mcconnell had in his race and he started early, we began doing stuff with him in march of 2013 for that
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race, really kind of set the framework for 2016 candidates. senator portman, we were testing video messages for him in the beginning of the summer. so a lot of -- for example, the ad that we saw, we began running that in tests online at the end of april and beginning of may, far before it ever came on to television. the online audiences, heroin being a huge problem in the northeast and the c.a.r.a. legislation, the online audiences had seen the video by the time it made it to tv. it was more of a reminder. we did use cool tools, tools that i hadn't used before with google. they were talking about display advertising just before this. we did a test actually because it's a common conception in digital advertising that display advertising is junk.
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you don't know who is seeing it. it might be another computer. it's not even a person. that's something we wanted to test with google. so we ran a display campaign for a week on the c.a.r.a. legislation related back to that video. all we said was look at the work that senator portman has done on curbing heroin addiction in ohio. for -- we ran that against his targeted audience of likely republican voters. for the two weeks after that, people who were exposed to the display impression, not people who clicked on it but people who saw the ad somewhere online, went in search for the senator 600% more often than someone in the audience who had never seen the ad. that was a cool tool that we used to help bring some validity back to the display advertising that we were running for the senator. >> in particular, the c.a.r.a., that was matched up on websites
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that had earned media hits with heroin stories as well? you matched your ads to the earned media? >> there was a combination of place and targeted advertising to the identified universe of ohioans that were likely to be moved on the heroin issue. >> peter, something that senator too toomey talked about was preparing to run his own race independent of the presidential campaign no matter who the nominee was. in the end on election night, we saw interesting results when he compare toomey's counties to trump's. did that surprise you that you won different voters than trump did? does that speak to the way senate campaigns can run more independently than we thought from a presidential race? >> i mean, we knew -- we always knew pennsylvania was going to be an uphill climb for no matter who the presidential nominee was. as you said, we planned to run ahead of them. i think what is amazing in pennsylvania, you have two state
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wide republicans win and their maps are totally -- they are very different from one another. president-elect trump found a path through the rest of the state outside of really the philly media market that we just didn't know if that panel was available to us. i think we went in and we knew we were going to have to find a large number of split ticket voters and go after them and identify who those were, what issues mattered to them and talk to them across all platforms and really feed them information that they would care about. i think we did that. obviously, we did that effectively. in the philly media market alone, there was 100, 120,000 split ticket voters. and just the philly media market alone. we won state wide by just under 100,000 votes. i think it's amazing the two different paths. we were a little surprised on
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election night when that all kind of came about. >> at the beginning of the cycle all we heard was that senate races can only run so far from a presidential race and the cycle every race went the same way as the presidential. does that to you mean there's potential for a senate race to really chart its own course, especially with the new technology you were using this time around? >> yeah. we invested heavily in using data and digital to target people and to really brand the senator on a good public servant. ultimately, you and an incumbent, you are have a record to run on. the other side will let you know about it. in the negative light. you need to highlight that in the positive light. there was a number of things from the senator's work on child predators and keeping them out of classrooms to the issue of sarah mernahan who worked to
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save this little girl's life and getting red tape -- getting the rule saved to get her a lung transfer. we ran an ad on that in the philly media market. we talked about the senator's independence on the toomey legislation. we talked about gabby giffords endorsement. we talked about the senator's -- his record and who he was and the work he had done. we spent the primary talking -- and into the general talking about the jobs he brought back to pennsylvania. we ran targeted mail all around the state and delaware county, which is in southeastern pennsylvania. we talked about the refineries he worked to save. the 9/11 air wing outside of pittsburgh. we sent mail to surrounding towns talking about that work as all the jobs are related to that. then on digital we matched all the same universes so the mail piece would drop on a monday, a digital ad would go up on
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wednesday that shared the same messaging. it was all about repetition. and then taking the -- highlighting the work the senator did and really talking about who he was and getting people to vote for the senator and really his work as a legislator and that he deserved another six years to go back to washington. >> this question is kind of for all of you guys. i think the portman campaign would say that all of the cool tools that you have and all of the cool media that you are using is nothing without volunteers on the ground gathering information about the voters that you are delivering it to. is that still a really big part of the campaign? did you do anything similar with the portman campaign? recruited 500 volunteers. were you doing something similar? >> yeah. for senator portman specifically, the field operation from the campaign was accessing and inside the same database we were using on the digital side. they had all the same
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information we had every single day. i think it was a real key component to his victory, because everyone was working off the same information. i'm sure everyone can speak to this, sometimes the field likes to use their own tool and your fund-raiser likes to use their own donation processor, your digital person likes their own e-mail platform. it's working off different things. that was never the case on senator portman's campaign. i think that actually -- not looking at digital is just a piece. but something that the entire campaign can be a part of. including every piece in it. i think it's a real key to success in today's digital world. >> same thing with us. we had a fantastic in-house data director who made sure that everything that we were doing, whether it was the doors that we knocked on, the calls that we made, the digital universes we were targeting, our tv, everything, our mail pieces,
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everything was from the same song book. it did make a difference. for us, we had a limited budget. we did have to be smart and efficient about everything that we did. we were able to track every target effort that we had so that we knew where there was movement and where we needed to supplement and where we felt good about things. did it did make a huge difference at the end of the day in terms of efficiency. >> connecting -- sorry. >> i was going to add, the mccain race, in the primary, you know, john mccain actually lost election day by ten points. but because there's a huge drive in arizona -- like brad was talking about with mail-in ballots. same thing in arizona except it's 80% of the electorate will early vote or mail in their
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ballot before election day. so we have this permanent early voter list that we were targeting online in the 26, 27 days before election day. all of our voter file targeting -- anywhere that we could possibly cookie match somebody or ip target somebody or match registration data on facebook or mobile number on trit twitter, anything we could do was key to winning the primary. all that was data was then utilized by the field team and volunteers to call through and chase those ballots. if we could find somebody online and say, by the way, that ballot is on your kitchen table, you need to mail it in right now, mail it in before kelly ward gets $200,000 to put in the last ten days. basically, using the digital as something that could feed into the rest of the field operation.
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it was the number one thing that was useful there. >> betsy, this is something i've been curious about. you worked with the scott walker campaign. i'm interested in whether wheth of this information you're collecting about voters can -- if you have a real strong digital campaign can be used to help another campaign down the road. did you find that the information that walker had was helpful to you and do you think that the things that you guys did will be helpful to other communities? >> absolutely. i see maddox who was a huge part of that effort, so thank you. yeah, i mean, you know, it just continues to be built upon and to get better and be refined. we started with our target universe looking at what we called the walker johnson gap. we used the walker 2014 as the high water mark and built back from there. i think that, you know, we want to make sure that that's available, it all lives in the state party, and whoever runs in 2018 against tammy baldwin in
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wisconsin will have that available to them. so it's just something that continues to be refined and made better. with every point of contact that we had, every volunteer knock, every digital ad, every touch across any medium that's made ultimately refines that file and can be used down the road. >> always owned by the state party or do they travel with the campaign. do they need to will this book to josh mandel? >> we'll see if there's a primary in ohio. all i can tell you is senator portman is not stopping now that election day has come and gone. he's going to continue to keep his file active and make sure that the people in his database are being communicated with on a regular basis so that whoever is the eventual republican nominee for governor and senator and down the line has a good file from which to work. >> i wanted to circle back
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arou around. the way that you guys got involved in digital primaries, has this changed the way that you feel about raising somebody's name i.d. >> that is a really good point and it's not one that i think was lost on, you know, the leadership on our side and the people that run senate races. i think the whole attitude is changed. a few cycles ago it was always, we're not going to talk about the primary opponent with low name i.d. because we don't want to raise their awareness. but what we've seen and having worked on both sides of this coin, like having worked in primaries, and having worked for more established incumbent candidates, you see that the problem where republicans get to in primaries is online. like those voters over index for usage of the internet and they
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spend their time there and organize against you right there. so if you are not going online early months before primary date and defining your opponent before they have the chance to get on tv and someone says shock poll, right, like shock poll three weeks before the election and suddenly you're neck and neck with this guy who only has 20% name i.d., you want to get them under water and early to those people who know who they are. the way that you do that is online. i think what we see in these primaries is especially the digital shows in that polling and those verbatim statements that you get read back to you from the people that you're calling, and so if you use digital to really change that sort of info flow. we talk a lot about fake news now after the election, and honestly if you worked in a republican primary in the last three or four cycles, you've been dealing with this problem
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like forever, right? like if you look at what people say about your candidate, you've dealt with the issue of fake news before. but now that it's affecting the general election, now suddenly like the liberals care and the media cares and everyone cares, right? but if you worked in the senate office or worked on the campaign in 2010 or 2012 you've dealt with this problem. it's an info flow problem. it's not necessarily your ballot position but it's literally what people are reading every day about your candidate or seeing it on twitter. basically what i'm saying is your number one task in these primaries is to change that info flow, is to get people to read your content and not what you would deem to be fake news or biased news or what some radio host is saying about why you're an awful person because you took some vote that wasn't the correct vote. long story short is, i mean if you're going to have an insurgent candidate in a republican primary, if you're
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not spending money online, you will lose. >> we have time for a quick lightning round. since we were listening to brad talk about what the trump campaign did and you guys are all campaign professionals, is there anything that surprised you that the trump campaign did that you want to take forward going into the senate campaign? >> i think that their use of earned media with everything that they did is something that should be replicated. i think, you know, digital ads are treated like tv ads now and i think that it's a lesson that the trump team did really well and i think that we can all use to our advantage, particularly when you've got limited budget, treating your digital ads like a tv ad and making sure you're raising money off of them and pitching stories on it like it's the greatest thing that just happened is really important and it only expands your reach. so i think that's something that the trump team did very well and
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that we can all take a lesson from. >> i can only hope to work with a candidate in the future that carries an earned media news cycle like brad had the opportunity to do. but i think of all the things that he said, one of it was the seamless hierarchy. there wasn't a whole lot of hands in the cookie jar when it came to approving content and getting it out and i think everyone in this room heard the stories about 2012 romney and 100 people had to look at a tweet before it went out. that was an exaggeration but it was a lot. we say that after elections and joke about it and then forget about it and then we go into the next campaign and some of the same problems come back up again. we still have candidates today that want to look at every e-mail before it goes out and change one word and that's a problem. i think as much as there's a seamless hierarchy for decision-making, it will be better for all campaigns. >> i think -- i really liked the
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square video for fundraising on facebook. i thought that was very unique. i liked the native use of subtitles. i think that's really strong and it sort of disrupts the news feed in a way that draws people's attention. this isn't just a thing that could exist on facebook. we need to, as a party, not rest on our laurels and think that we won and we're the best but think about ways like that that can sort of disrupt these other advertising venues or other social media platforms to really engage with the user, not just take the 30-second spot and run it. >> i'll go two things. one is i think brad's ability to understand donald trump's voice is actually critical to what they were able to get done and building a team on a campaign, especially a team that's putting out public information that understands who your candidate is and how they speak and being
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able to kind of capture that helps to streamline that process. and then two is the social media following. i will be completely honest in that i didn't totally buy into it when i started. my job in 2015, i knew there were benefits to when you would get down the road, but it was like, we're just growing our facebook likes and i always kind of ask like what's the point? but really what i found was the ability to turn people out at two events was cheap. like i mean $5 cheap that you could be able to -- the target you could go through social media to get people to come to an event and even in a senate race where it's much harder to get -- we didn't get the size of crowds that mr. trump got, but to get 100 people in a rural county with joanie ernest then equals a good press story which is good earn media so it helps in ways that you don't really see when you're getting up and running but know that in the end
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it actually does give you a lot of benefits to be able to talk to your people and get them involved. >> as somebody who covered these races for the past two years, it is a privilege to have all of you four on stage. really cool things happening in all those races. >> thank you. [ applause ] next up, ted peterson.
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>> hi. what's up? i'm rolling. hi, i'm ted peterson. i was digital director for the nrcc independent expenditure, the nrccie played in 29 rises this cycle defending the republicans largest majority in 80 years. the media expected us to lose around 15 seats going into election day. we lost six. the nrccie spent over $8 million on digital out of our $75 million budget. digital came out to about 13% of our total media spent if you don't include creative production. our digital production increased by 60% compared to 2014. for the first time we budgeted for digital first creative video. i want to touch briefly on two
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google relevant topics. search strategy and 15 second videos and bumpers. start with search. okay, so when a voter in iowa's third district searched for jim maur on google this is what they saw, an ad for voter guide 2016, a negative wrong for us and a clfn. if they clicked on the voter guide ad this is where they landed. if you scroll down on this page you'll learn a little more about jim maur, but you may notice the things about him are kind of negative. if you scroll to the very bottom you notice paid for by nrcc. search was the first thing to go live for our entire ie and we spent the summer building voter guide it may look like a little real clear politics. it's a site that had information about all of our candidates and competitive house races, the
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content about our candidates was positive and the other candidates were negative. these were linked to the nrcc store. we wanted to give this site a news feel and feel like it's an example of tailoring content for the medium. we created a site that didn't look like an attack ad but housed all of our hits. we had over 125,000 visitors from our search ads. what's great about these visitors is these were individuals actively seeking information about democratic candidates in our target district and we were able to reach them with our message through the voter guide. back to the search results. actually another nrcc ad on this page. it's the wrong for us ad. when voters clicked to this ad they were directed to a page that has the 30-second tv spot that was running on tv and elsewhere on the internet.
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wrong for pages is where we directed users who click on display ads. they were designed to look similar to the video created so every landing page looked different. you could watch the 30-second video and the static image doesn't do it justice but you can scroll down, read more about the candidate, watch other videos and their icons to share or sign up for more information. back to the search ads. one thing we did a little differently this cycle was bidding on the same search term with two different ads. some might argue that we were stupid to bid against ourselves and i'll note that our buyers did implement a strategy that we weren't bidding too much against ourselves, but we purposely made an effort this cycle to own search. we owned the democrats' names and the d trip was nowhere to be found. when anyone searched for a democrat we had two ads with two totally different styles to increase our chances that a
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voter would click it and we could deliver our message from them and i think we really benefitted from owning the top two search results. let's move on to some of our digital first creative. most of you probably saw this ad running in the d.c. tv market. is there a play button back there? it's not going to be able to play? okay. anyway, everybody saw this. luann bennett, developer, she owned a parking lot and she was supposed to build a preschool. we had a 30-second ad, everybody saw it. what we also did for almost every tv ad was break it down to 15 seconds so we invested in digital first video creative, we had this 15-second version that you wouldn't have seen on your tv but if you lived in virginia you would have seen it because we ran it on youtube, targeted it to you.
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i can't play it. but it had the same message. for some districts we went even further and developed youtube six-second bumper ads. this was a six-second ad. it showed a small clip from the tv creative. anyway, while the 30-second was over, we had 15-second and 6-second versions of these videos with the same message running on youtube. i think it was a big part of our success on election day. one last thing to leave you with. i think we were particularly successful this cycle because we started with a plan. we planned to tailor content for the medium with digital first creative. we planned to spend $8 million on digital, built a strategy to spend it and executed a plan. thank you. [ applause ] next up we have a panel on ballot props.
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i'm going to welcome amanda and lauren benson. there are more ballot props this year that we worked with than ever before and i'm sure all of you are going to start seeing the same. >> my name is lauren benson and i am our industry development manager, supporting our elections team at google. i'm joined on stage by amanda bloom, director, as well as chris georgia, partner at fp1 strategies. so thank you for joining me. but before we jump into our panel, i have a very exciting topic which i know we're very close to drinks so we will go as fast as we can through the digital research ad
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effectiveness results on ballot props. so don't get too excited. so in my role at google, i have the job of focusing on voters. what are voters doing on digital. and the way that we understand voters and their intent in election cycles is looking at multiple different data points. everything from what they're typing in the google search box, which they're typing in very interesting things, all the way to partnering with third party research firms. so today we'll walk through our evolvement of research and our findings on ballot props this cycle. but at the end of every cycle we seem to be in this position, questioning the effectiveness of advertising at the overall level, all the way down to digital. if i had a nickel for every time i was asked in the research industry to show me the effectiveness of digital ads, i
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might be the next billionaire running for president. this is the number one ask that we get. how we set up a research this cycle was to focus on three different buckets, really focus on the shift that we're seeing in the brand and consumer world of the time spent on media, and as lee had mentioned, we're seeing two hours online to every one hour on tv. but really where it gets interesting is where we go into the influence and the weight of digital on the voter decision process. and finally, rounding out the effectiveness. but at google we don't want to stop if ads are working. we want to go beyond to understand how, where, and for whom the ad are working. so we took an innovative approach this year, and i wouldn't be on stage without the help of chris and amanda and their partnership. so we looked across multiple digital research firms, and we
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worked with com score who's a leading digital research and measurement company working with their national panel. but we know that elections are won and lost at the local level, and we thought was a huge opportunity to understand more on the ballot props. so we looked across the 165 ballot props in 35 states and identified a few that we could work with. we then had com score cut their panel at the state level and also screened in for likely voters. but the third step is tagging the creative. so we could say with a significant lift in a true controlled and exposed experiment that digital ads worked. so we'll spend the rest of our panel really talking about the strategies and how chris and amanda executed these strategies and pivoted throughout the cycle. but we have some results. so we looked across all persuadability metrics from
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awareness, favorability, knowledgeability, intent to vote as well as some recall, and we saw significant lift in the double digit percentage points across multiple metrics. so more to come in reaching out to your google team, this is just kind of scratching the surface, but i wanted to start with both chris and amanda. the first question that we had is we know and we've heard a lot today around what makes a successful digital campaign on the senate presidential level. i would love to hear from your perspective working on ballot props as you both worked on campaigns and ballot props. what were some of the challenges and differences executing a ballot prop strategy?
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[ inaudible ] >> it is up to the campaign itself, the actual ballot initiative itself, to raise that level of awareness. there's no -- there's very little awareness going into all of this. in california, for example, there were 17 ballot initiatives, and the voter guide was 250 pages long. that's just the state-wide voter guide. that doesn't include your local races and your local initiatives. so we had to battle an awareness of our side and one of the -- at least one of the benefits of ballot initiatives is in general awareness does lead to favorability which is not necessarily the case with candidate campaigns sometimes but we do have that in our favor. >> i think that the audience side of that is really
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republican voters -- you have to figure out who that audience is. [ inaudible ] >> we were able to take micro targeting data, combine our online targeting with what we were getting in the mail with what was on tv. all of that kind and this audie >> chris, you came from behind on double digits and ended up meeting and exceeding by i think we said 70 points? >> it was a good night. >> it was a great night. >> one of the reasons that that happened is because it wasn't just a well funded effort.
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we ended up -- this is the ballot proposition and new jersey is in and new york is the most expensive. it's $5,000 a point at some points. to go in and play there it's incredibly expensive. we had a well funded effort and because of that effort wre were able to start very early on in the process. we had researched starting back in may on this before it was even decided what number on the ballot. once we decided we were going to go in and play, we went in big and we never came down. >> amanda, with this research, what did you find was the most surprising? was there any pivoting as you started to see both from your internal research as that was coming in as you moved towards election day? >> yeah. one thing -- we were in a similar boat with one of these
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campaigns. we were down by 29 points and we ended up four. among one certain group, those were digital only, those were people you could only reach with -- they either watch tv over the internet or they did not watch any type of tv content whatsoever, so that was huge. one thing that came from the com score study that we did was -- there was daily polling going on with who we needed to target and how we needed to change. with the com score study, the thing that surprised me most was, we all believed that digital can move voters. we all believed that. it was nice to see it in numbers and be able to present that to our clients, but the thing that i really enjoyed seeing was as we changed messaging, the lift in message recall popped and i was seeing all the results that the messaging that we were running in september was popping
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and then we were kind of integrating our october/november messaging but we really didn't see a move but we found that the messaging that we saw throughout, the messaging from polling groups was going to move us in this campaign. we went tv, digital radio, everything digital, direct mail, everything. everything had the exact same imagery in it, exact same tag line, exact same everything, search, all across the board, and we saw a lift of i think 32 points or 25 points. i can't remember exactly what the number was but it was huge. to actually be able to see the difference and message recall as we were actually changing the messaging, it shows that it's working. [ inaudible ] >> like you said, the numbers might not be assigned until
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later. what tools from a digital perspective did you use to education voters if this was different from the awareness levels that we were working with on presidential and senate? >> on our end it was particularly challenging because ours was about casinos in a state where you can gamble. we had to do an education component that made our search strategy challenging. people much smarter than me on our team worked closely with the google team to figure out the best way to efficiently make that, but it was something we were constantly dealing with and we were bidding against the same folks that we were trying to stop in some instances. >> we went up early on with search advertising before we even had a ballot number. if anybody was hearing about something to do with it i was like, if they're searching for something even loosely related to this, let's be able to get our message in front of them.
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search was an important component of all that. another thing with how confusing all of this was is that we had to figure out how to word our strategy appropriately. so for one ballot initiative that we were running, it was -- we were the no side and the initiative was basically to fund education and we knew that people in that state supported more funding for education. everybody thought that education needed more funding so we couldn't go at this from a, oh, no, the state doesn't need more funding for education. we had to figure out how to word that appropriately and that all translated into the search that we were doing and we went up for most of these campaigns in early summer and went up hard and didn't come down. >> i would say another component of this is frequency. it's something that in dealing with an education campaign you need to get your frequency up in order to burn that message
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effectively, especially when there's not a face or candidate or earned media that's necessarily going to go along with it. we did two things along those lines. one of which we figured out across medium what individual voters were likely to see on frequency and when we could we augmented that with digital. making sure that our frequency was higher amongst those cord cutters because we new that our broadcast buy was less likely to hit them and be effective there. the other thing we were able to do is we were able to download through data transfer 2.0, the cookie and device i.d. logs of frequency on a daily basis and match that up so we could go in and identify folks in the online universe as well that were below the frequency that we needed to hit them and increase that as we saw fit. >> i think we have time just for one more question. so what do you both think is on the horizon?
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we pushed some boundaries to look at state level panels and had some fun, i think, kind of pushing the industry forward in operating in this type of research, but what do you think is next or where would you like to see us go with the digital research frontier? >> it was really disappointing to me that com score could not measure the mobile impact of what we were doing. with the shifting trends, 80% of facebook's revenue is coming from mobile devices, we had a huge mobile component even just on youtube and we couldn't measure what the lift was from that mobile component of it. so i'd really like to see that get pushed ford. in addition, it was hard to get significant size and we were operating one of the largest geographic areas in the country. it still has a way to go even though the targeting is certainly where it needs to be. >> we were concerned about the size as well, but i think from a research standpoint it's --
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that's hard to say. one thing -- this is kind of loosely related -- that we found with a few of the ballot initiatives that we were running from polling numbers was that 20 to 25% of our voters -- i mentioned this earlier -- were not able to be reached with tv advertising so i'm not sure how many of those people are actually measured because the panel was relatively small. so it would have been interesting to see the difference in impact with those individuals specifically versus everybody else out there on the internet who could have potentially also been getting the tv ad on top of the digital advertising. >> okay. thank you both. [ applause ] thank you, matt lira, you're up next for our next lightning talk. and thank you, everyone, for dealing with our a.v. problems. and for your pleasure, matt has decided to go a la tim cook, no
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slides, just him. >> no slides. i don't like the accountability of slides. before i start what i was planning on talking about i want to share something that struck me as i was kind of in the back and listening to the panels and all the earlier discussions. that's the is sem blaej of people in this room. i see a digital strategist and political minds and people who worked at committees and causes and i see people who worked their way up from the bottom and people who have come in at the top and been able to make a difference but all of you have been fires for the fact that digital is changing the way that campaigns are being run. whether it's a local initiative or the presidency of the united states, you've all been willing to take the risk and put your reputations on the line and to fight for this new and better way of doing things. so i think as we're collectively maybe give ourselves a round of
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applause for what we've achieved and what's ahead. give yourselves a round of applause. not for me. [ applause ] obviously ward and i see brad, todd, brian. it's a really great group of people that have really fought and stood up and put their reputations down when the chips needed to go down to make those changes. now we have the opportunity to change the country. to my real talk, essentially we're seeing a change in media and it's -- all this disrupted change to how we run campaigns, do marketing and sell products, news, entertainment, politics, et cetera, and it's challenging, but i think it's something that our democracy has seen before. if you look back to abraham lincoln, he said the matthew brady speech made me president. matthew brady was a photographer in the 1850s and '60s.
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at the time still photography was a new medium and most people thought it was this entertaining distraction you throw to the side. matthew brady and abraham lincoln were able to realize this is how you could shape the opinion of a back country lawyer and turn him into a national leader. he leveraged that to lead a country through some of the most divisive times we've ever confronted. zip ahead a few decades and you see fdr. he realized that radio could be used to communicate with people in their living rooms and forge an emotional connection with the american people and guide them through a depression and a world war. jfk has the audacity to do something weird and unusual and wear stage makeup to be on tv. the serious politicians wouldn't necessarily want to do that. he realized that the master and new medium meant to do something
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that's maybe a little weird at first but is core to what makes that media distinct and different from its predecessors. when we look at digital media, one of the things that strikes me about how digital is different from its predecessors is its interactivity. it has to be fundamentally interactive and strike people as an emotional connection through kind of interactive medium. so many people did that really well this cycle. we're obviously at this peak moment where we have the opportunity to run the country with the senate, the house and the white house but we need to challenge ourselves because the media is continuing to change. digital will continue to rise around we need to continue to find new ways to make interactivity more central to how we run campaigns, how we sell policies and ultimately how
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we govern. for a wrap-up thought, one of my favorite economic theories is the sailing ship phenomenon which is this idea that if you look back at the mid 19th century, four or five major ship builders and they had been dominant for centuries. by the end of the 19th century not a single one of them existed. so why, when faced with the self-evident truth that steam technology was going to fundamentally disrupt building these tall ships, why wouldn't these ship builders just start building steam? they were unable to make the leap that the world was changing. it's not an isolated story. if you look at why didn't xerox embrace the user interface or why didn't blockbuster embrace
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media streaming. as technology shifts, if you don't disrupt, you will be disrupted. i think as the leaders of the conservative and republican community at least as it relates to campaigns and campaign strategy in this room, we have an obligation not to rest on our laurels but to continue to push ourselves because we need to disrupt ourselves or we will be disrupted. so thank you and i appreciate the opportunity. [ applause ] thanks. matt. we're going to have the war room from san antonio from the trump campaign come up. we have jonathan swan, garrett lansing, gary kobe, brad prescal. where's matt? i got to say this is a little bit better looking than the war room in san antonio for any of y'all who have been there. and drinks are flowing.
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this is a fantastic panel. i'm sure most of you are familiar with this but this really is the donald trump digital team. these guys were the core of the team. jared kushner obviously approving things but these guys really were in different respects responsible for the operation. we've seen so much reporting, some of it correct, some of it incorrect about the various roles just slightly. one thing i think everyone would be really interested to hear and maybe we'll start with the rnc folks here is, can you give us
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some insight into what it was like to walk into the donald trump operation when you first did. how much did it resemble a normal digital operation? was it something just completely different? just give us a bit of a flavor of it. [ inaudible ] >> is that better now? cool. he had a beautiful office, but as he had a chair for that 1.0 window he was running kind of a solo operation. he would pull in guys here and there. he had some talent design folks who i know he had to pull in i'm sure at times. but it was, you know, something he was running solo. pretty impressed that it got so far in that way.
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our first meeting it was kind of a little rough around the edge i would say. we're like these rnc guys showing up down in texas. i'm saying, so we hung out there a couple days, came down a couple times, grew a really good relationship just working together. >> i think it was pretty sparse when we got down there, and therefore surprising, but we had a good connection. everyone wanted to win. i think from our perspective i knew coming into the rnc that there were 16 or 17 campaigns, and none of them therefore because of the resource splits was really going to be able to have a digital operation that could scale into general election sides very well.
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i think we had a well sized and scaled operation that could have done it but we knew back in june of '15 that it wasn't going to be the case so i wanted the rnc operation to be as large as possible and really have a major e-mail operation list and staff ready to go at a moment's notice when the nominee walked in the door. so it was ironic or maybe perfect that the campaign that came out of the primary really had the smallest digital operation in terms of just manpower, not footprint. but it ended up being a great match that we sewed together over the first few weeks and the rest is history. >> brad, i want to know to the extent to which you think not having the hillary clinton super structure was an advantage, so actually being smaller, not having, as someone said, 42 lawyers to sign off on a tweet, do you think there were
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advantages as well as disadvantages to that? >> it was cheaper. 1.0 was all mr. trump's money so it kept me around longer. i think we only spent $2.4 million to the convention total on digital and i would say 2.2 or $3 million was ad buys. we built the entire website, did the digital frstructure, i bill less than 30 grand at the point when we were in iowa. that's not very much money. we built the store, done all the pieces, did everything, but again i did that from the house. >> what about in terms of functionality? >> functional? i think it's hard to look at version one, two, and three that way. if you look at the end i think our digital operation by that point, i can't say our scale was actually smaller.
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i might say our scale was larger. i don't know exactly how many people they had. we were 100-plus people by the end. we had a lot of different assets there, so it's unfair to look at 1.0 because it had nothing to do with hillary clinton. that would be more about the candidates and i think i had a heck of a primary candidate on my side there. so it wasn't as much about us then. you look at the general, i think we built -- we put pieces together fast in partnership with the g.o.p. and the rnc, cambridge analytical. my company is not small. they made it sound like i'm sitting there all by myself. it's 70 people. it's a whole city block, so it's not like it's a little building. i just hadn't pulled resources because i had to bill for those. so by the campaign we started pulling more and more resources and we actually outgrew our offices and had to move to
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another location in the city. then we got a whole floor of that building and then i forced a lot of them to fly here because i didn't like flying to d.c. from san antonio, which wasn't a bad place in the united states to be stuck. it's sunny, no direct flights but we can fix that now. [ applause ] >> it's good to see the power is not going to your head. can we send the mic down the other end. one thing i think that a lot of people are curious about, i was talking to some republican operatives this morning and saying what would you be interested to know about. people are interested to know to what extent in your digital operation was it persuasion and to what extent was fundraising and can you talk about how both of those elements worked. i think one of the cambridge people maybe because they haven't spoken a lot. >> obviously as brad talks about
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it, that was very much about infrastructure, getting both new e-mail addresses to turn over to the e-mail marketing team as well as direct fundraising, which we had a tremendous amount of success doing. but then as we came further down into the cycle and started to understand the pockets of the voters that we needed to understand more about mr. trump's story from a persuasion perspective as well as identify our supporters and understand where to go on voting day, those became extremely important parts as well so in many ways it became the digital universe. digital tools were used to accomplish that. >> you want me to answer that? moneywise, gary by far got the most of it in fundraising.
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the gwyneth paltr.o.p. and rnc in partnership with the campaign. we would produce content. they would -- gary would lead that team and then we had partners that we brought in from third party companies that came in to push the content. that was a majority of the money, i think -- i don't know how many millions of that that is but i would say 70% range. then we had a persuasion budget and we had a go tv budget. the go tv budget was run through another portion of the operation that garrett ran. i don't think we did that much go tv digital through the campaign itself. but we produced content and worked with them, and then you had the persuasion budget which i believe was -- i don't know -- 10 to 15% of that. however, i do think that we ran our fundraising effort in an way to be persuasive as well.
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maybe gary can talk about that because i think that's a big difference of trying to meet two goals at one time. >> the way we were running fundraising, we were extremely aggressive. we had a mind-set if we're getting three extra turn we're not doing it right because we're leaving money on the table. given we had such a short window to operate to bring in as many dollars as possible, the goal was when we were getting great return, third ry times, we really kind of ramped up our volume to try to push it down to bring in more total dollars. if we're operating at a 1.3 x that means we're doing better than 3x because 3x we're leaving money on the table. in terms of how the operation helped with our persuasion, trump followers got amazing kind of engagement. so a lot of our content got
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engagement. a lot of our content got shared. we were extremely aggressive with testing and extreme le aggressive pushing the envelope, but what kind of messages worked for d.r.. we found sometimes the video didn't have to have anything to do with actual ask. the content was just important to get the user to stop and watch it as sort of like a first step to the funnel. whether that was relevant to the actual ask of why we're asking them to give us $35 didn't matter. whatever video got the user's eyeballs is what we used. that's something that typical campaigns i don't think we would be able to do. i think people would stop us and say, oh, that doesn't make sense. but we're just really focused on that ultimate goal of getting the conversion, getting the donation, so we were able to push through and do those things. additionally because our ads got so much engagement, it led to even more reach with those ad units. in swing states we would try to
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use persuasion style ads, message style ads, knowing that that ad unit is going to be seen by obviously our donor target and then their community, their friends just by them engaging with that content. so we're able to garner an incredible amount of social impressions, more reach with the users that we weren't even targeting for donations. >> he double dipped. yeah. i'll come back to fundraising, but before we do that, i want to talk particularly to the cambridge guys about targeting and, you know, after 2012 and to some extent 2014 i think micro targeting was fetishized by some on the left particularly and there was a lot of intrigue about what cambridge was doing with the psycho graphic profiling and i just want to understand because we hear about
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that and then we see what were very kind of generic in some cases big theme, big emotion ads and daniel -- i think it was daniel before saying that in some cases targeting, we need to actually stop being so efficient and we need to pull back a little bit. i just want you guys to talk about how you used the tools that you have and just that field in general. >> yeah, i don't want to break your heart but we actually didn't really do any psycho graphics for the trump campaign. i personally did woefully little on the digital side. most of my role was the data side. we provided audiences with persuasion and tv ad budget from that. mostly i managed the goat rodeo and brad went to new york. zach was in my background right there.
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so we didn't really use sipsych graphics that much because we had to walk before we could run on this campaign. similar to the story gary told, we started in june in san antonio with relatively no data structuring. we're parsing together files and getting it organized in one place. i think it was a few weeks or months before we could build a model and the emphasis was always on fundraising. to gary's point on why he needed to raise money at three, four, five clips because the campaign was fueled by fundraising. mr. trump's team did not have the luxury early on where every the dollar that came in went to every other department of the campaign. a lot of times brad was robbing peter to pay paul. on the targeting we're talking about building the database, working with the rnc, with the
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alamo database which you may have heard about, and then leveraging cambridge's database. we're talking about building partisanship, the basic building blocks you need from a campaign. over time we did get into some basic nlp stuff. darren who's in the back was working on a facebook late in the campaign that leveraged some mlp technology but we had five months to scale extremely fast and psycho graphic profiles requires a much longer ramp time. >> the other thing cambridge provided me was if i would have made budget decisions every day, which i was making lots of them, i wanted two sets of data of what people thought was happening. i didn't want to make all my decisions off just one set of
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data. cambridge started helping us with polling internally making 1500 live calls per state plus web plus other stuff. i don't remember what the numbers were. we were bringing enough data in that they could created models and the rnc would provide it so i had two data sets to look. if the rnc said you're down five in georgia and cambridge saying i don't think this, we're up three, i can start to say why is there a difference, what's going on. then i had a third set of polster data that they were doing larger polls to find out what's going on on the ground. i was able to bring that data in and have a better picture of what i thought was happening and cambridge provided a full-time employee to put it into a visualization standpoint so i could do it in a fast -- a method that was so fast i could make a decision in 15, 20 minutes because we were going so fast.
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the ability to digest that much data, even if it was the rnc data going back to cambridge and back to us, they were able to visualize it so i can make better decisions. >> brad had control of research, data and digital and tech which is kind of a dream if you're someone who's opinion on presidentials before doing this, it gives you a ton of leverage and helps you make more holistic decisions where you're not fighting with tech to building a new landing page every day, spread operational control over those three to four different wings. we can go into, to his point, 1500 surveys a week, rolling every day across 17 battleground states, mixed method between online samples, live to sells and ivr, that goes into the models every wednesday. the rnc is providing data at the same time and then we're going back and testing the digital performance off the back of that
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with google and facebook and traditional dialing. the campaign was consistently learning from itself and much more run like a business than most campaigns have been a part of. >> i might get gary to answer this. in terms of the fundraising, i think you guys raised a quarter of a billion, something in that range which is phenomenal. i know there were days where you broke $7 million, more than that, 10 maybe, 9 -- i want to ask two questions. one is a macro question which is can you break down how you raised that money. i'm not going to get you to say we spent x with facebook. i don't know you're not going to do that. give me a ratio between e-mail versus ads bought versus x. give us some idea of how you
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raised all that money. >> the general breakdown was about 60 or 65% e-mail raised and then the rest basically advertising. some of that comes over the transom. people visit the website obviously. x messaging outperformed my wildest expectations. they were probably 1 or 2 percentage points of overall. e-mail, i was expecting it to be more like 75%. i think gary and the cambridge team had an aggressive advertising style that's really never been seen before in politics that brought in so many extra donors initially and e-mail was able to get them in the second time. the e-mails, like i was saying before, there's so many campaigns running in the summer of 15. there's a time value to these
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assets which means that the only way to build a giant list when you need one if you don't have one is to either spend a ton of money and catch up really fast but you're going to spend 10 or 20 x per e-mail than you would have if you had started earlier, or build a time machine and go back and start the e-mail list from scratch. not from scratch but the rnc had a good one when we came in, we built it up much larger. having assets ready was incredibly important. i think going forward in the next cycle, next presidential, i think text is going to be more like 10 to 15%. >> talk about that a little bit. that's pretty interesting. >> people were signing up. you guys had those banners on the podium all throughout the primary. they walked in with like 600,000
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text messages. i totally dismissed it, said there's no way we're going to raise money on it. ended up doing $7 million i would say. >> towards the end we were hitting it heavier and we had mms messages, video messages where we raised a half million dollars off of one send which is rather absurd. brad switched up the event signup. you had to run your own event signup and that helps with growth with the sms list and also stamped out a lot of protestors because they had to get verified through their mobile number. that was the goal but it also gave us a massive sms file which we raised a ton of money off of. >> combined you have the huge e-mail list and the text message list. if you're running any campaign at any level, i would be going
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to the political director and the finance director and say the e-mail, the money that i need for e-mail you should be arguing for too. it's going to turn out voters and persuade voters and help the entire campaign. next to the candidate's time and message i'm not sure what is a more valuable asset in a campaign besides e-mails and smss. >> you have to remember too, the reason why they raised so much money is because donald trump was a really good candidate to raise money from. >> the next question i was going to ask is how much was rep lickable and how many -- you twisted me in circles here. if you're a campaign that's gearing up for 2018, what things can you take and learn from the trump campaign and what things do you think were uniquely
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trump-ian and can't be so easily replicated? >> good candidates with good messages win elections. what we do helps on the margins but my life before helping brad and cambridge was walker in wisconsin and parks who i think is somewhere out here, was doing my fundraising for that out there. i would have died to be able to say half the stuff that mr. trump would say at fundraising. a lot of typical republican candidates i'm sure others of you who worked for rubio, i see some other folks in the room, would have loved to say and have the kind of message and tenor that mr. trump had in fundraising because that message matters. even subtle word choices mean the difference of 10 to 20% on an e-mail and deliverability. i think that mr. trump was the vehicle but they were able to harness it very quickly. >> can you give people some more insight into what were some of the messages that really resonated, like what were some of the things that really popped. i don't know who's best to --
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>> build a wall. >> give us insight into how that worked. >> one of our biggest days outside of the third debate was august 31st debates, august 31 st, last day of the quarter, great day but a day he went down to mexico. totally dominated the media. and, you know, tv for us really felt kind of like it would create an echo. whatever we're doing online would be juiced up if he's dominating the television news. all the users are watching and very relevant. and 8:31 like he was the president. he was playing that role. and he's also talking about an issue, you know, immigration, wall that does really well for us, there is -- when i talked about earlier how we started using persuasion ads to raise money, you know, talking about immigration wasn't really our persuasion ad, but we had an ad
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from early on that was just direct to camera, which we did a ton of these direct-to-cameras, i started going to new york and writing script for the kids and mr. trump -- we had one that eric trump was talking about the wall. and it just slaughtered for months. we would keep running it. most would burn out after a couple days because we were pretty aggressive with running it. but when we did, we'd push it down for a couple days and bring it back. just that video piece of content stopped user, get them fired up, get a membership card, get this, get that, they're interested now. >> are we done, lee? >> i want to give you one thing. it's very interesting about the fund raising. we had all this in one kind of shop. fund raising small dollars literally followed two days ahead of polling data. and that was really the truth. meaning you could take that graph and show as fund raising went up, our polling data to
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when media and things happened got people excited in the base which moved to trump's column, they would vote with their wallet first. >> so when polling plummeted after "access hollywood," did the fund raising plummet? >> don't get me on a thing, but as polling, as the votes came as you saw as we improved or as the ebb and flows of up and down a campaign, fund raising would match that. people vote with their wallet. i think that was really nice to see with such a large small dollar fund raising that you could see this. i think it was nice because i could see as the ingoes, start showing other data show victory, fund raising continued to grow as well and went all the way to the last day and people were trying to vote with their wallets. and when they were not happy they would vote with their wallet. >> i want to ask you one last question, lee, last one. outside group, brad, what's going to happen? are you going to be working with kellyanne? can you give us some insight into what will happen here? >> yes, i will have a job outside the white house.
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>> are you going to be the chief digital dude on the outside group? >> no. i haven't made any -- right now i'm enjoying dinner with my friends across the street. that's as much as you're going to get. i will have a job. it will probably be outside the white house. >> i'm fairly confident -- >> those are two answers to that. >> i think we're all fairly confident. thank you, guys. really appreciate you. [ applause ] >> you're good. okay. we're going to show a few videos from the super pacs for our last panel and then we're onto cocktails. >> why aren't i 50 points ahead, you might ask. >> well, despite insisting. >> i am a real person. >> hillary admits -- >> last time i actually drove a car myself was 1996. >> the clintons made $100 million. >> we came out of the white house not only dead broke but in
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debt. >> she's under fbi investigation, but -- >> people should and do trust me. >> so -- >> why aren't i 50 points ahead you might ask. >> 45 committees responsible for the content of this advertising. >> hi, i'm ruth. it's been said there are two things certain in life, death and taxes. one thing certain with me with bennett you would get higher taxes. flat out refuses to raise taxes saying there are times when you need the revenue. doesn't government take enough already? meanwhile, she's out there criticizing her opponent for fighting the largest tax increase in virginia history. so whether it's higher taxes on families, higher taxes on businesses, you can count on lou ann to lead the charge. congress doesn't need more money. log onto learn more. >> my home, my family, and my marriage. i have a lot of things to worry
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about besides some politicians' future. empty promises of empty treatment are the last thing i need. i want a leader who will fight for me and my family. from my home to my job there's a lot depending on me. i know i can build a better life if we can finally get the economy on the right track. and there's no limit to what i can do when my family, my job and our security are priorities for my elected leaders. that's why i'm supporting carlos -- for congress. he knows i deserve equal pay for equal work. and he understands when i succeed, my family succeeds, and america succeeds. >> what's at stake in this election? it's not just who goes here. it's who rules here, the supreme court. the justice who guaranteed your right to own a gun is gone. now the next president's choice breaks the tie.
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four supreme court justices support your right to own a gun for self-defense, four justices would take away your right. >> the second amendment is outdated. >> the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right. >> what does the second amendment mean to you? >> not the right of an individual to keep a gun next to his bed. >> and hillary says -- >> and when it comes to guns, we have just too many guns. the supreme court is wrong on the second amendment. >> hillary's made her choice. now you get to make yours. defend freedom. defeat hillary. the nra institute for legislative action is responsible for the content of this advertising. >> in iran a woman's life is worth half her husband's. christians persecuted. it's illegal to be gay. people stoned, beaten and hanged for what they believe, how they were born and who they love. ted strickland supported giving
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billions to that regime without concessions for human rights violations. when we had leverage, ted strickland didn't stand up for the vulnerable. that's why we can't trust him to stand up for us. american unity pac is responsible for the content of this advertising. >> why aren't i 50 -- >> okay, so, brian, we're going to start with you -- can you guys hear me? hello? okay. so future 45 didn't start running ads until later in the race at which point there had already been hundreds of millions of dollars spent against hillary clinton. what made you guys decide to get involved at that point? and how did you guys decide what kind of messaging to use, who you wanted to target and how you wanted to run your ads? >> is this on?
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>> and hundreds of millions is probably an overstatement there. >> well, i was just about to take object to the premise of your question, as they say. because i think at the point that future 45 we were formed in early 2015, but we certainly didn't spend the bulk of our resources until after labor day of 2016. at the time that we got involved, i think something like $150 million had been spent against trump by secretary clinton and her allies. and i think maybe $8 million or $9 million had been spent supporting trump from the outside mostly by the nra. so the playing field was wide open in terms of the types of issues you could talk about to define secretary clinton. from our point of view we always start with research. so we undertook a very large research project both on the subject matter but also on what voters cared about. and then we tried to target our ads to the right audience so we had ads, as lee knows, aimed at
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millennials, ads that were aimed at folks who really cared about the women's issues, ads that were aimed at people who might engage with politics on a humorous basis. so we did a lot of humorous types of ads or tried to be funny. then we had a lot of ads aimed at issues like the supreme court, the economy and so forth and tried to match those creative opportunities with the right audience. >> and what was it like running ads for a super pac for a candidate who was already so well-known in the media? was that part of the reason why you decided to mostly go after clinton rather than airing ads promoting trump? >> no, we did both. the media liked to talk about the anti-clinton effort, but the reality is there were a lot of opportunities to positively talk about the president-elect and vice president-elect. in fact, the ads aimed at economic opportunity and
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economic plan i think were a real bulk of the advertising we did especially in september and especially in pennsylvania some of these will sound familiar, michigan, wisconsin, ohio, iowa. so we definitely focused on that. at a certain point everybody understands the role of an outside group versus the campaign. at a certain point the campaign itself put up some really high quality positive ads aimed at talking about mr. trump's economic message. and at that point when it became clear that they were carrying a very effective positive message, we then altered our strategy to go more negative. there was another group run by alex catellanos and they had several great high quality positive ads as well. so we focused more on defining secretary clinton. >> and how did you determine what effect your


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