Jay Dardenne: Speak Truth to Power

On November 5th, almost two weeks after he came up short in the primary election for Louisiana governor, Jay Dardenne (R-Baton Rouge) publicly endorsed John Bel Edwards.

Jared Arsement distilled Jay’s comments in this ad from the brief press conference, in which Jay made it apparent that he is a conscientious public servant who gave this potentially career-altering decision a great deal of thought. His goal, I think, was to encourage fellow Republicans to give the same careful consideration to a vote that could alter Louisiana’s course so significantly. In the twilight days of the 2015 runoff, that’s a goal I did my part to further. 

Speak Truth to Power was a late entry to the digital campaign. It ran from November 19th through an hour before polls closed on November 21st. It was heavily promoted and received 64,000 views and over 400,000 impressions during that short time, making it the third most popular digital ad of the race behind The Choice and Samantha, discussed previously.

Although it played for potential voters statewide, I primarily targeted this ad in areas where Jay and fellow Republican Scott Angelle (the other major candidate in the race) did best in the primary. I also splashed two areas where David Vitter was imperiled, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes (the former due to his P.I. fiasco, and the latter due to his fracking fiasco).

Aside from targeting, another powerful feature of YouTube’s digital campaigns - one which Vitter’s people also used but Dardenne’s and Angelle’s didn’t for some reason - is the Call To Action overlay, a short text link on top of the video itself. You probably noticed it in the lower left corner of the video above, urging the viewer to “Vote JBE on Nov 21!"

Depending on the message and destination page for the overlay (which can be changed over the life of the campaign), prospective voters could click to land on John Bel Edwards' campaign website, find polling locations and schedules, or gain knowledge that informed their vote and generated downstream chatter. Moreover, when set up properly, this conversion can be tracked and measured, giving almost immediate feedback on who is viewing and responding positively to an ad’s message and targeting. This is one area where digital campaigns are a uniquely valuable indicator of engagement.