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Slushie Girl

“Slushie Girl” was one of our favorite spots to produce this year, featuring 8 year-old Vanessa Stieb giving it to the “Hidden Gas Tax” with both barrels.  Prediction: You’ll be seeing a lot of this talented young actor in years to come.
 

Zombies Knock ’em Dead at the Pollies

Ads produced for “Zombies for Responsible Government” swept through the Pollie Awards at San Diego’s Manchester Hyatt Regency Hotel Friday night. The independent expenditure campaign targeted Nathan Fletcher in the San Diego Mayor’s race. In that race, the Zombie spots garnered tens of thousands of Youtube views and were featured on every major news channel in the San Diego market.

The Zombies, featured in a pre-roll video to San Diego voters, could also be seen in candid interviews filmed on location. Before the night was over, the Zombies racked up five Gold Awards, one Silver and two  Bronze trophies, in what proved to be a great night for our sister company Gateway Media.

Special shout out to our Zombie staffers, Matt Johnson, Bereket Kalile and Kameron Snow who backed up lead Zombie Jason Kuykendall, all under the superb director of Randy Bond.

So if you’d like to have the creative media production team that the 1,200-member American Association of Political Consultants calls solid gold, let’s talk.

California Republicans Campaign For Blue State

Cal Newsroom, John Harbe on March 11, 2014 – California Republicans Campaign for Blue
“Around the globe, blue is identified with conservative, free market parties, while red is identified with social democratic parties,” points out Shawn Steel, a former chairman of the state party who now serves as its representative on the Republican National Committee. “It is why conservative-leaning Democrats in Congress were called ‘Blue Dogs.’ Everyone knew what it meant.”
For the full article, visit Cal Newsroom.

Robo-Polls: Wave Of The Future?

They’re fast, they’re cheap, and you can easily get larger sample sizes, but are they worth it? There is controversy over the accuracy of automated polls, also known as Interactive Voice Response (IVR) polls. Traditional pollsters are still skeptical, while IVR proponents claim they’re the wave of the future. More unsettling, however, is new research that suggests some IVR polls may have been biased to conform to traditional polls.

Whether or not those concerns are accurate, there are certainly advantages that come with IVR polls. In addition to being cost-effective, they ensure that questions are asked the same way every time. You also don’t have to worry about issues with accents from the interviewers. And since there isn’t a real person talking, the respondents may feel less pressure and express their honest opinions.

A 2009 Pew Research Center study found that telephone polls “did very well in forecasting the outcome of the election in 2008.” The American Association for Public Opinion Research produced a paper in 2009 on presidential primary polling which concluded that the use of IVR polls “made no difference to the accuracy of estimates.”

Of course, automated polls aren’t without their own drawbacks. The main problem is that auto-dialed calls have a bad reputation, largely due to the annoying commercial calls that people get in the evening. Respondents may hang up before even listening to the purpose of the call. Questions have to be short and you can only ask so many questions to retain respondent interest.

Perhaps, a greater cause for concern was raised by Dr. Joshua Clinton and Steve Rodgers, political scientists at Vanderbilt and Princeton, respectively, who published a paper in 2013 which suggested that IVR polls from the 2012 GOP primary […]

The Music of the Night

Stay with me.  I’m going somewhere with this.

I cannot exactly remember the first moment I looked over the audio engineer’s shoulder and saw a human voice digitally displayed in all its mathematical splendor, I just know that my world changed that day.  Pro Tools was launched in 1991, the prodigy child of Evan Brooks’ 1984 Sound Designer.  Sure, it was four tracks and $6,000, but it was a ticket to a new world.

As a young boy, I watched the piano tuner come to our house with his tuning fork, and well-trained ear.  That tuning fork resonated at 440 Hz, basically the A above Middle C on your piano.  Not important, right?  Right, unless you’re a piano tuner…or any other human being.

Most of us have a vague idea that music is related to math.  It has scales, meter, rhythm, etc., but the fact that sound is a mechanical wave, basically an oscillation of pressure, means not only is music all about math, but it turns out math is all about music.

When that mechanical wave gets pushed through a medium like air or water, we hear the resulting sound.  Now, if that wave is going through something smooth, like a train whistle, the sound is constant and shrill. But add a few holes that you can open and close, and you’ve got a flute or a clarinet, or a valved trumpet, and suddenly it gets interesting.  Then, that wave passes through the incredible array of human vocal cords, producing sounds of enormous complexity, that can beckon, agitate, soothe or awe.

Silently hold down the G key above Middle C on a piano, and then sharply strike the C key an octave below Middle C. What you clearly […]

By |December 11th, 2013|Digital Media, Production|

Sad Farewell to a Mentor and Friend

(McLean, VA, December 5, 2013). The American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) joins in mourning the passing of industry great, Joe Napolitan, who died Monday in Agawam, MA at the age of 84.   Regarded as the father of modern political consulting, his storied career spanned over 5 decades.   Fellow Springfield Political Consultant Tony Cignoli said of Joe, “Napolitan set the standard, and the idea was that it had a code of ethics. If you broke that code of ethics, no other consultant who belonged to the group would then work with you. And it worked really well.”    This ideal was embodied in the founding of AAPC in 1969 and the establishment of AAPC’s Professional Code of Ethics, to which all members subscribe.

Former AAPC Board President Wayne Johnson said of Joe’s passing, “We’ve lost a giant.  No single individual did more to create our profession, and to foster the idea that for a free society to flourish, we must love the principles we share more than the partisan issues that divide us in the moment.  He was mentor, colleague and friend, not only to me, but to so many others. We’ll miss him deeply.”   Ray Strother, who also served as AAPC Board President added, “Joe Napolitan was the rock on which we built modern political consulting. He founded both the International Association (IAPC) and the American Association of Political Consultants out of love and respect for his profession. He reached out to help upstarts like me and he quietly gave advice to scores of young consultants. Joe was truly the diamond standard of wise men in the business and I (we) will miss him desperately. He was the flickering lighthouse that gave us direction.”

Obituary from […]

By |December 5th, 2013|Uncategorized|

Sacramento Business Journal Honors Tim Rosales

The Sacramento Business Journal is honoring Tim Rosales as a “40 Under 40” Finalist at a special dinner December 10. Congratulations, Tim!

By |November 26th, 2013|Company News|
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    Wayne Johnson elected to Board of Directors of the International Association of Political Consultants

Wayne Johnson elected to Board of Directors of the International Association of Political Consultants

Wayne Johnson has been elected to serve as an American representative to the Board of Directors of the International Association of Political Consultants. The IAPC is a professional association of approximately 200 consultants founded 45 years ago in Paris by Gaulist consultant Michel Bongrand and American Joseph Napolitan.

By |November 25th, 2013|Company News|

Zombies in San Diego Mayoral Bid

White House correspondent John Gizzi weighs in on San Diego Zombie ad:

Democrat David Alvarez unexpectedly placed second in Tuesday’s mayoral contest, knocking out a candidate long considered a cinch to be one of the top vote-getters, and will join Republican Kevin Faulconer in a run-off early next year.

Although many point to Alvarez’s support from key union leaders for his advancing past former state legislator Nathan Fletcher, who had placed second in nearly every poll, other observers in San Diego credit anti-Fletcher TV spots that featured zombies.

That’s right. Zombies.

The mindless creatures featured in horror productions, from George Romero’s 1968 cult classic “Night of the Living Dead” to the current hit AMC TV series “Walking Dead,” were unleashed in independent commercials underscoring Fletcher’s change of positions as he continually changed party affiliations, switching in earlier races from Republican to independent to Democrat.

“Nathan Fletcher courted the tea party with anti-immigrant rhetoric, but then he switched his principles when he ran for mayor,” said the narration to the ad, as a hoard of zombies lumber Frankenstein-style at dusk.

“He bashed labor unions and supported pension reform, but then he switched his principles again. Now he’s against pension reform and supports spending billions – but wait! He’s switching again!”

Finally, an exasperated zombie declares: “This guy keeps switching his principles – on every issue! I can’t keep mindlessly following Nathan Fletcher! And I’m mindless!”

The commercials were paid for by an independent expenditure known as “Zombies for Responsible Government.” They began airing online on, appropriately, on Halloween.

“We only spent $1,800 on pre-roll ads on Youtube to launch it, but once Twitter lit it up, the paid media was practically irrelevant,” explained veteran California media maestro Wayne Johnson. “The real definition of virality […]

Coming This Friday: TV That Watches You

How Xbox One Beat Cable to the Punch and Will Change Political Advertising Forever.
The new generation of Kinect technology in Xbox One can distinguish up to six voices in a room, respond to voice commands, read skeletal movement, muscle force, whether people are looking at or away from the TV and even their heart rates, Mehdi said. The latter happens as the camera detects slight changes in skin tone related to dilation of a blood vessel in the eyeball that responds to heart rate, Mr. Mehdi said.

                                                                                                                Advertising Age

                                                                                                                10/5/2013                           
Seven years ago, I was invited to address the executives of one of the nation’s largest cable companies.  I challenged them to abandon their focus on competing with broadcast, and to exploit their natural advantage – set-box targeting.  At the time, they were drilling yet another dry hole in the frozen tundra of cluster group marketing, the erroneous notion that people who live near one another think alike.  Oh sure, there may be more Republicans than Democrats, or more liberals than conservatives in a given geographic pocket, but that’s descriptive, not prescriptive information.  Targeting based on such assumptions is highly dangerous in a political campaign, where voter behavior is as likely to be influenced by a negative perception as a positive one.   Show the wrong ad to the wrong people and it’s not just a waste.  You actually lose votes.  Elections are a zero sum game.  Those you alienate matter, because, in politics, 49% market share is called losing.

Let me put it another way.  Which mailing would have the greater impact, sending a National Right to Life endorsement of a candidate to a list of pro-life […]