N.J. gubernatorial race reflects trend towards web video over TV ads

 Trenton state Capitol building. (Shutterstock)

Trenton state Capitol building. (Shutterstock)

A new trend has many of the campaign ads in the race for Governor of New Jersey going up online instead of airing on traditional media outlets.

Carl Golden was the press secretary for Republican governors Tom Kean Sr. and Christie Todd Whitman. He said it’s cheaper to put campaign ads on social media and the internet, and they can be effective.

“You are bound to be reaching the people who are either open to your candidacy, or who support you already, or maybe on the fence one way the other. I think it’s impressive to them. They look at it and it’s here’s a candidate who really cares enough about me to reach out this way.”

Montclair State University political science professor Brigid Harrison said it’s a more sophisticated way for candidates to reach potential supporters based on their online profile.

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“Because of analytics the candidates can target individuals who are getting news from various sources, and they know that those individuals are likely to hold certain opinions.”

David Greenberg teaches history and media studies at Rutgers’ New Brunswick campus. He said the data about visited internet sites and the interests of social media users lets campaigns tailor ads for appeal to specific political viewpoints.

“It remains to be seen whether these new social media and internet-based appeals are going to be as good at reaching independents and reaching swing voters, as they are about feeding the base the kinds of stories that will gin up their outrage or rally their support.”

Greenberg said the prominence of social media in the presidential campaign and Donald Trump’s use of Twitter has made people aware of how important that can be for candidates.

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