Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How effective are political videos?

A group named Catholics Called to Witness has put out a video encouraging Catholic voters this year to stand up for life, marriage, and religious freedom. The video is here:

I've seen it pop up on a few Catholic sites here and there, and I'm curious: what do you think of the video?

I'm a Catholic who is in agreement with the idea that the sanctity of life, religious freedom, and defending traditional marriage are tremendously important, so I'm not asking (at least not in this post) whether you agree or disagree with the issues raised here. I'm actually asking the following questions about the video itself, and political issue videos like this one--and feel free to answer any or all as you choose:

1. Do videos like this about issues you are interested in impact your vote positively, negatively, or not at all?

2. Do you share videos like this one (about issues you care about) with other voters?

3. Have your political opinions ever been influenced by a video?

4. Have you ever first heard about or become interested in an issue because of a video? E.g., if you hadn't heard of the religious freedom debate set against the 2012 presidential campaign, would a video like this one make you curious enough to do a little research into what was going on?

5. Do you think videos like these are mainly aimed at voters who already agree on these issues, voters who disagree, or voters who may be ambivalent--in other words, what is the target market?

6. Given your answer to 5 (if you answered), what is the target market for this particular video?

I know that political ads in general can be effective--most people who are at least my age remember this ad, for instance. But I'm curious about "issue" ads produced by groups other than the political parties. Do these ads work? Why or why not?

That's a lot of questions--hope I get a few answers!


John Thayer Jensen said...

1) Positively
2) Yes
3) No
4) No
5) Aimed at ambivalent, though I wonder whether it would be effective
6) Ambivalent


John Henry Lamming said...

1. Not at all.
2. No.
3. Not to my knowledge.
4. Not yet, but it might happen some day.
5. Clearly aimed at people who already agree.
6. Voters who are faithful to the magisterium, but who aren't terribly enthusiastic about voting for Romney.

I am clearly part of the target audience, but not even remotely impressed. My vote is going to some third-party nobody where it may actually do some good.

Rebecca in ID said...

I can't answer neatly in your format but it looks to me as though it is targeting Catholic voters who might vote for Obama. It doesn't really help me, because I could vote for a non-negotiable type like Paul, or I could vote for Romney in order to get Obama out of office, in order to protect in some measure those non-negotiables. The principle that there are non-negotiables doesn't help those of us who are looking at Romney as now the only viable candidate against Obama.

freddy said...

1. No.
2. No.
3. No.
4. a)No, it's never happened. b)I suppose it's possible that it could happen someday, but usually issues in political ads reflect what folks have been talking/writing about for a while, so it's unlikely.

5. The target markets generally are supposed to be the ambivalent or apathetic, but generally seem to appeal to those who already agree.

6. I think that the target market of this particular video is Christians who are ambivalent or apathetic; however I think the video makes a couple of mistakes. First, the flames, coupled with the rather martial music and "God is watching you" vibe would be off-putting. No one wants to be scolded into doing something. Second, while the video carefully doesn't mention any particular candidate, it can easily be confused with a sort of "Fox-News Messianic Republicanism." Mr. Lamming, above @12:32a.m. is a case in point -- and he's not the first person I've heard take the video that way.

Kirt Higdon said...

I think my answers would be exactly the same as those of John Henry Lamming.

Eunike said...

1. not at all
2. no
3. no -- because I know they're trying to
4. Not by a video, though sometimes by an article in the paper.
5. Do they have an audience in mind at all? Or do they just have a need to put forth this message?
6. All voters -- which makes it ineffective for any voters IMHO.

And I think they're trying too hard for an ominous tone. The background was so dark I could hardly read the text.

But then, I seldom watch videos that I know are trying to convince me of something.

Anonymous said...

1. Negatively, definitely off-putting to whatever propaganda the perpetrator is attempting to present.
2. Definitely not. Hogwash.
3. Possibly, to my chagrin.
4. Possibly, I would be interested in how someone could come up with the concept, and who funded it, and in a curious way, try to understand the musical composition.
5. They are aimed at dummies.
6. People that still advocate antagonism of Salem witches, support the Inquisition, etc. I cannot stand ads enticing with dramatic perversion of truths, unless I have time to figure out the angle of ad agency customer.


Edward Shuman said...

1. Not at all. But then I almost never look at videos like this in the first place.
2. No.
3. Not that I recall.
4. No. But if I was unaware of a particular issue, a better video might make me research it to see what was going on.
5. I think videos of this type could be targeting people who agree partially, or who are undecided, or who are trying to balance pros and cons of different candidates' positions.
6. This video seems aimed at moderate conservatives who are wavering a bit, and conceivably also at people who might consider voting independent for a more acceptable but less popular candidate.

As for what I think of the video, mostly it was way too long for its rather meager content. I was sort of interested at the beginning, while I thought perhaps the blacksmith was forging armor, or a sword, or something with at least a little visual interest. (The music would have seemed more appropriate for that, too.) After they show what he's working on, though, nothing much happens for the entire rest of the video, which just plods slowly on. It was static, repetitive, and dull. I imagine many, or even most, viewers give up on it well before it comes to any sort of point.

Joe cloud said...

I tend to turn out political videos. The only question I can really answer is #5. Voter turnout is abysmal. The real goal of such videos is get the faithful (in a political sense) to turn up on election day. For someone like me not attuned to the message, I just see proof that the Roman Catholic church has finally allied itself with the know-nothing right.

c matt said...

1) Not much - not enough substance to it
2) No
3) Not that I can recall
4) Probably - hard to say since the issue was plastered everywhere
5) Likely ambivalent, or those who may lean the videos way on the issues, but are not particularly thrilled about the current choises.
6) Ambivalent/leaning positive but not excited about turning out. Seems to shoot for males with fantasy gaming interests.

John Thayer Jensen said...

For what it's worth - since some are commenting on the video itself, I thought it was terrific. The martial atmosphere seemed to me just right. We are certainly in a war, and it is a war not just against the Catholic Church specifically but against all humanity qua humanity - all who will not accept the nominalist view that there is no such thing as human nature; it is what we want to make of it.

I said that the ad wouldn't have influenced me simply because I am already confident of the issues (and in agreement with the ad). But I found it very encouraging, and forwarded it to the members of our Rosary group.


Siarlys Jenkins said...

I'll comment based on what I'm familiar with. In 2004, a bishop of a predominanly black Church of God in Christ mega-church endorsed GWB, for the usual abortion/gaymarriage type reasons. His parishioners are deeply devoted to Bishop Daniels, and they overwhelmingly voted for John Kerry. God is God, pastor is pastor, but most agree that black folks voting Republican is like chickens voting for Colonel Sanders.

Believe it or not, Catholics make the same sort of distinctions.

Anyway, between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, no pro-life voter has any particular reason to vote either way, as Erin has eloquently stated. Never mind whatever rhetoric Mitt finds convenient to adopt this year. By his works to we know him.