The Best and Worst of YouTube Political Campaigns

Chuck Norris To the Rescue


Former Governor Mike Huckabee brought in viral sensation Chuck Norris for an ad that would capture the attention of young voters. Huckabee's ad for the 2008 Republican primaries lacked substance, but that hardly matters on YouTube. 

 

We Speak English in Alabama


It is easy to see why this was a viral winner (and why Tim James lost in Alabama's gubernatorial race). It has a short, one-dimensional message and is offensive. The best mix to gain infamy.

 

Christine O'Donnell Might Be a Witch


This ad earned a spot on late night shows, news programs, and websites; people obviously heard Christine O'Donnell's message for Senate. This ad became a media sensation, mostly for inspiring hundreds of parodies. Today, campaign messages do not end with the candidate; everything one says has the potential to be spliced, reinterpreted, and "songified" by the public.

 

Time For the Big Guns


Dale Peterson's ad drew well over two million views for a campaign few people care about. Peterson lost the 2010 Alabama Agriculture Commission race, but his name lives on in the blogosphere for the absurdly American video, in which he suddenly pulls out a gun as he says "we're Republicans." This video gave Peterson a big bump in the polls.

 

Last But Not Least: Obama Girl


Clearly, this video was not approved by President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign. But, "Crush on Obama" demonstrates how the driving force behind campaigns is shifting from paid ads to amateur bloggers and "vloggers." Fan videos add a new dimension to political campaigns, allowing supporters to say things candidates cannot get away with. For instance, if the campaign wanted to show off a shirtless Obama at some point, but did not have the opportunity, Obama Girl helped them out.

Photo Credit: killpack99

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Rebecca Leber

I'm a New York native, now in DC at the Center for American Progress. I was one of PolicyMic's first interns, and I consider both the online community and Harlem office to be smart, supportive places.

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