Imagine you’re re-setting your AOL password, and instead of being asked to copy a sequence of distorted letters and numbers for security, you’re shown a quick political message, like the one above, and asked to copy a phrase from it, like “right to choose.”
It’s happening in selected zip codes in New York, and it’s the brainchild of Dan Pohlig, a former WHYY producer who’s now vice president for digital media at The Campaign Group, the Philadelphia-based media consultant that’s been doing dozens of campaigns across the country for more than 20 years.
As described in this piece in Politico, Pohlig and company were trying to figure out how to help their client, Democratic Congressional candidate Julian Schreibman, who’s running in a district where he’d have to pay exorbitant New York City media market rates for TV.
Pohlig and consultant J.J. Balaban came up with the idea getting internet users to actually type part of a slogan from an ad, in this case one coordinated with a cable TV ad campaign. The surprising part is that there are firms you can pay to do get internet sites to make this a requirement for users to change passwords.
“We have no idea if it works,” Balaban told me, but it plays on the idea that you remember things you write more than things you see.
“We all learned in school that the best way to remember something is to write it down … again and again,” Balaban said.
The ad is an attack on the incumbent Republican, U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, who called the approach “invasive.” I’d have to agree. I don’t think you’d see The Campaign Group or anybody else doing this with a positive message.
If you had to write a phrase like “Nutter is cool” in order to change your password, you’d probably get a little irritated at this Nutter guy, whoever that is.