Oliver TV ad targets young Philadelphians


    Philadelphia mayoral candidate Doug Oliver has launched his first advertising campaign in a frugal, but carefully targeted effort to reach younger voters. 

    Oliver’s advertising campaign involves radio spots, billboards and of course, TV commercials

    The TV ad features the voice of community activist Sheila Armstrong from her speech at last week’s press conference in which Oliver laid out an addendum to his education policy.

    In fact, hers is the only voice in the ad, which also features scenes from school funding demonstrations, along with shots of an abandoned building and a trash-filled lot.

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    “Our communities need help. This is why we need Doug Oliver,” Armstrong says. 

    A friend of Oliver’s from his days at the Milton Hershey School recorded the hip-hop beat that pulses beneath the ad.

    It’s edgier and more boldly urban than the commercials put out in favor of frontrunners Jim Kenney and state Sen. Tony Williams. It’s also lower budget. 

    The campaign did not respond to a question about how much TV time it bought, but sources familiar with Oliver’s cable ad placement say it’s worth only about $2,500. For some perspective, $2,200 buys just one 30-second ad during “Good Morning America” on broadcast television. 

    Spokesman Mustafa Rashed said the campaign chose to buy time only on cable to target voters in Center City, East Falls, Roxborough, Manayunk, as well as South, West and Northeast Philadelphia. 

    “We didn’t buy broadcast because we don’t have the resources and didn’t want it to spill into Cherry Hill and Montgomery County,” he said.

    While super PACs have spent more than $3 million combined on ads for Kenney and Williams, candidates Nelson Diaz and Lynne Abraham have yet to hit the airwaves. Abraham says she will be on TV next week.

    Oliver, who entered the race as an unknown with little discernible financial or political backing, has done much of his campaigning on social media and in the streets and subway stations

    The advertising campaign, which also includes ads on YouTube targeted to Philadelphians between the ages of 18 and 44, is part of an effort to boost his candidacy to top-tier status.  

    Oliver says his messages target younger, “disengaged” voters. 

    “The ad was … designed to capture the frustration that many Philadelphians feel about our school system and about politics in general,” he said. 

    NewsWorks/WHYY’s Dave Davies contributed reporting. 

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