Root v Howell: Building The LP Brand

In the following email sent to LNC Members yesterday, former Vice-Presidential Nominee, Chair of the Libertarian National Campaign Committee, author of “Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gold and Tax Cuts,” Vice-Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Nevada, King-of-Las-Vegas, Capitalist Evangelist, Reagan Libertarian, and current At-Large member of the Libertarian National Committee, Wayne Allyn Root wrote:

My commentary at FoxNews.com yesterday has been read (so far) by over 105,000 people. It was #1 at FoxNews Opinion yesterday.  And my interview with the NY Times of China came out last week- I’d pass it onto LNC, but it’s in Mandarin and I have not had it translated yet.  But it was so well received in China, the publisher has asked me for a second interview about my daughter Dakota’s remarkable story called “Homeschool to Harvard.” His millions of Chinese readers want to hear the details of the story so they know how to best educate their children.  All of these interviews end with “Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee” and Chairman of Libertarian National Campaign Committee” and “author of Conscience of a Libertarian.”

In my opinion . . . this is how you build a brand.

Best,

Wayne

Wayne Allyn Root
2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential Nominee

(emphasis and ellipses in original)

It is unclear whether Mr. Root is referring to his efforts to brand himself, or his efforts to build the brand of the Libertarian Party, or both. The last sentence of the article he references above appears to offer his core brand statement in the following form:

If we are to save this economy, capitalism, our jobs, and this country . . . one thing is crystal clear — Obama must go.

(emphasis and ellipses in the original)  Available online at:

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/07/17/obama-and-our-government-have-hurt-me-not-helped-me-every-step-way/#ixzz216s9tMUF

It would appear that this branding statement is in direct opposition to a recent branding statement offered by Libertarian Party that:

One thing could make things worse. Electing Republican Mitt Romney President.

First published here:

http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/supreme-court-obamacare-decision-highlights-why-a-president-romney-would-be-more

Each of the branding statements above (in essence, that it would be better to 1) “Elect Romney than to re-elect Obama” and 2)  better to “re-elect Obama than elect Romney”) were repeated by Mr. Root and Ms. Carla Howell at various Freedom Fest sessions where they appeared, including a session titled: “Libertarian Party – Solutions Not Slogans” by Carla Howell, major elements of which were repeated by Ms. Howell to members of the LNC during her report to the LNC meeting early this week.

Regardless of whether it’s the LP brand that Mr. Root is building or if it is his personal brand, or both; what IS clear is there is a striking lack of a consistent branding statements between (at least one member of) the LNC and those released officially by the Party itself.

68 thoughts on “Root v Howell: Building The LP Brand

  1. NewFederalist

    I didn’t know there was a Libertarian Party in China! Good job, Wayne!

  2. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    The Red Chinese government hates civil liberties, but loves the military and money.

    It may be a perfect market for Root, since he sounds like a “Red Chinese Libertarian.”

  3. paulie

    I’d like to suggest a middle path between Wayne’s take and Carla’s:

    The LP and our spokespeople, employees and national committee members alike, should emphasize that it makes no difference whatsoever whether Obama or Romney wins, and that the only vote worth casting is for the Libertarian Party and its candidates at all levels.

    Anything else is just inviting people not to vote for us because “this election is just too important” — and shockingly few voters understand safe/swing state dynamics.

    The Green Party’s “safe state strategy” in 2004 set them back tremendously, and the Libertarian Party should absolutely not reinvent that flat tire.

  4. Joe Buchman Post author

    Paulie @ 4 —

    “it makes no difference whatsoever whether Obama or Romney wins, and that the only vote worth casting is for the Libertarian Party and its candidates at all levels.”

    The very IDEA that you and I and others have to say this ANY member of the LNC as well as paid professional staff . . . is . . . at it’s very best #@($*ing absurd.

    Your statement reminds me of Andre Marrou’s

    — “The Democrats want control of your money, the Republicans want control of your social life, Libertarians compromise: We don’t want control of anything.”

    🙂

    Joe

  5. From Der Sidelines

    Mitt Obama or Barack Romney:
    No Difference.
    No Hope.
    No Change.
    No Future.
    Vote Johnson 2012.

  6. David Colborne

    Regardless of whether it’s the LP brand that Mr. Root is building or if it is his personal brand, or both; what IS clear is there is a striking lack of a consistent branding statements between (at least one member of) the LNC and those released officially by the Party itself.

    In other news, the sky is blue, water is wet, it’s dark at night…

  7. Joe Buchman Post author

    David @9 YES! But in other news from the comments we have learned that Wayne is not only the:

    former Vice-Presidential Nominee, Chair of the Libertarian National Campaign Committee, author of “Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gold and Tax Cuts,” Vice-Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Nevada, King-of-Las-Vegas, Capitalist Evangelist, Reagan Libertarian, and current At-Large member of the Libertarian National Committee

    BUT ALSO

    the founder of the Libertarian Party of China (but not Taiwan).

  8. Steven R Linnabary

    I really don’t have a problem with Wayne “branding” himself as well as the LP. Certainly nearly every letter to the editor I write is signed with one of my LP titles. I think it does help to some degree, at least it makes your statement sound more authoritative.

    My only problem with Wayne is his refusal to ever verbally attack any republican, and Rmoney in particular. I do understand who his target audience is, but I would think it would be easy to incite conservatives that are stuck with the RINO’s of today’s republican party!

    PEACE

  9. Jill Pyeatt

    This is a time where Wayne could really win over some of his critics in the LP by coming out strongly and consistently for OUR candidate, Gary Johnson.

    I know he’s wooing the right wing, but they know he’s Libertarian and I’m sure they would expect he’ll back Johnson with no love lost between them. What does he have to gain by even coming near the subject of Romney? If we’re confused about his party’s loyalties, his ‘GOP fans are, too. Why does he think they’ll flee the Republic party and come here if he doesn’t act like he’s committed to the Libertarian party?

  10. Be Rational

    “If we are to save this economy, capitalism, our jobs, and this country . . . one thing is crystal clear – Obama must go.”

    “One thing could make things worse. Electing Republican Mitt Romney President.”

    Seems that I agree with both of them.

    Can we have them welded into a single voice?

  11. Jill Pyeatt

    BR @ 15: If we weld the two, do we call her/her Carla Root or Wayne Howell?

  12. LibertarianGirl

    I do not agree with Waynes approach to covet voters in non-battleground states supposing people more likely to “throw” their vote elsewhere if it isnt crucial to their [arty.

    I say the opposite work the battleground states and hope to God you make the difference between the winner and loser

  13. George Whitfield

    A good strategy is to focus the Johnson campaign on battleground states to cost either the Democrat or Republicans a state victory AND in those states where there are lopsided favorites for either Romney or Obama so that many people will feel less pressure to “make their vote count” and will vote for Johnson. That combination would both maximize the vote totals and the chances that we will cause one of the two old parties to lose a state. Both good public relations and news story items.

  14. Robert Capozzi

    gw, that strikes me as UNfocused. Aren’t you saying it should be a 50-state strategy, in effect?

  15. paulie

    Another strategy to consider may be that we should focus on states for other reasons that have nothing to do with which ones are swing states and which ones are safe states.

    For example, we could focus on states where a strong performance by Johnson or (since some people will feel the presidential race is too important but vote LP downticket once they hear the message) state candidates retains ballot access; or states where there are a lot of LP candidates on the ballot so synergy flows up and down ticket; or states with low population where a relatively inexpensive ad buy/interview and speech blitz could make a significant dent in state polls; some combination thereof; and so on.

    What we do does not have to necessarily revolve around the dynamics of the Democratic-Republican contest, but of carving our existing small niche into a somewhat bigger one as much as we can in any given cycle.

  16. Robert Capozzi

    20 p, certainly a reasonable view, yours. I wonder whether the L prez candidate has ever affected the downticket vote totals in a discernible way. Some actual analytics would be in order to see if that’s a potentially more fruitful path.

    My gut still tells me that maximizing the vote totals should be the top priority, but if I saw compelling numbers my head can overrule my gut.

    I do see ’12 as a setup for ’16. If GJ can break 1% without Clark campaign resources and if the campaign can not alienate the L base too much on any issue (FAIR tax being the worst “offender” thus far), that could create a big-tent for the L movement to say, hey, maybe this electoral approach is worthwhile after all.

  17. Joe Buchman

    George and all — problem with battleground (or swing) states is all the media has been bought up already — there’s almost no TV inventory left, and what’s available is likely to be the most expensive. Nevada has, from what I saw, Romeny and Obama commercials running in every break right now.

    Joe

  18. Joe Buchman

    Strategy for TEA party types — Ron Paul does it better than anyone. Ron Paul created it. I’ve voted for Ron Paul for POTUS . . . twice. WAR is no Ron Paul!

  19. Steven Wilson

    Wayne’s assessment of risk is his bread n butter. He is a gambler in name only. He won’t hurt the Republican because he might need a safe haven. He is invested in politics now and with his ambition and media experience, a place on a network is a viable outcome from earlier events. It is irrational for him to wager on the LP with the possibility of re-entering the Republican at a later date.

    Wayne is many things, but stupid is not one of them. He will never bite the hands that feed. The LP starves more than most. The LP cupboards are almost always scarce.

    Two cents and a coffee.

  20. paulie

    I wonder whether the L prez candidate has ever affected the downticket vote totals in a discernible way. Some actual analytics would be in order to see if that’s a potentially more fruitful path.

    No time to get into a long discussion of this right now. The short answer is yes. I highly recommend reading http://www.harrybrowne.org/2000/WasItWorthIt.htm carefully and repeatedly …and the rest of http://www.harrybrowne.org/2000/toc.htm … for some additional information on this.

  21. JT

    I agree with Paulie’s post 4.

    Indicating that a Republican or Democratic candidate for President is better than the other hurts any alternative party candidate for President. A voter may feel that one is slightly better than the other & still vote Libertarian, but anybody in a leadership position in the LP shouldn’t be giving people that impression.

  22. Joseph

    I have advocated, and still do, that GJ focus on so called ‘safe’ states for two reasons – votes and money. The LP needs as many votes as possible and GJ will receive many more votes in states where his impact will be minimal. In the battleground states the big two will be expending tremendous resources and GJ does not have the funds to compete. As of May 31 BO has $270 mil, MR has $176 mil, and GJ $1 mil. I have worked on national campaigns and if you think GJ should compete in those states then put your money where your mouth is, empty your wallets and support him with $10 – 20 mil. Otherwise leave strategy and tactics to the campaign.

  23. zapper

    paulie @ 20 // Jul 20, 2012 at 7:04 am

    “Another strategy to consider may be that we should focus on states for other reasons that have nothing to do with which ones are swing states and which ones are safe states.

    For example, we could focus on states where a strong performance by Johnson or (since some people will feel the presidential race is too important but vote LP downticket once they hear the message) state candidates retains ballot access; or states where there are a lot of LP candidates on the ballot so synergy flows up and down ticket; or states with low population where a relatively inexpensive ad buy/interview and speech blitz could make a significant dent in state polls; some combination thereof; and so on.

    What we do does not have to necessarily revolve around the dynamics of the Democratic-Republican contest, but of carving our existing small niche into a somewhat bigger one as much as we can in any given cycle.”

    +1

  24. Michael H. Wilson

    re paulie @ 20. There ya go thinkin’ again. Common sense will get you nowhere. 😉

  25. Mark Hilgenberg

    I think all Howell was doing is trying to counter Roots “It’s gotta be Romney” message but unfortunately she played into the same false perception. The idea that we are closer to the GOP but Romney is worse than Obama.

    This is a losing strategy and we need to run far from it. The problem I have with appealing to the Fox News right, is they are motivated by fear, hatred and superiority, not by trying to find solutions to help the nation. We will never be able to win over a crowd like that. They don’t want solutions, they want to hear parroted back to them that Obama is a socialist, big spender, Muslim, foreign born black man.

    We should not be in the left/right debate at all since liberty is something completely different. Many young people get this but unfortunately they still lump us in with the Fox News right and we need to stop feeding this false perception.

  26. Steve

    Exactly, Paulie! Call this the “Growth States Strategy,” focus on states where an active Presidential campaign will build the party either by retaining ballot access or boosting the local candidates.

    Another advantage of this is it could encompass both the “Safe” and “Battleground” states potentially giving us the advantage of affecting the outcome in one or more close states while running up higher raw totals in one or more safe states.

    As for the question of how a Presidential campaign helps downticket races, the Ron Paul campaign is a great model. He essentially ran a mid-major party campaign within the GOP. He never had more than a slim chance of winning the nomination, but his campaign activated a lot of people who are now running and winning offices from small town mayor to US Senator. I wonder if the opposite isn’t true as well – do down-ticket candidates help the POTUS ticket? If people see a local candidate they know and like, does that make them more inclined to vote for the Presidential ticket? Actually, I may get a chance to test this in my Congressional district soon :-)!

  27. zapper

    Reality: In any given state we must advertise on Major Network Broadcast TV to be taken seriously. This should be first, before radio, cable or any other type of advertising. We have to buy enough ads to be seen by a large segment of the whole state including news reporters and producers.

    The Johnson campaign will NOT, barring some miracle, raise enough funds for Nationwide TV advertising on major network Broadcast TV.

    The Johnson campaign will NOT raise enough money to advertise on major network Broadcast TV effectively in any LARGE state – over 3 million population.

    MOST battleground states will be too expensive because of the competition for ad time and most are too large as well and as mentioned already tied up.

    We will only have enough money to target a handful of small, inexpensive states, most of which will be among the 40 or so non-battleground states.

    There may be a few states we should factor in where ballot access is at stake – as Pauli mentioned – if they are also small enough in population for Johnson advertising to make a dent.

    There are few states where the population is low enough and TV time cheap enough for us to advertise in effectively. We do not have enough money to advertise in even this entire shortened list. We should choose among these:

    These first 10 states are small: approx. 10.5 million pop. total. We can have an impact.

    ME, NH, VT
    AK

    ME has elected and re-elected two Ind. Governors, several local LP officeholders. NH many LP state reps. VT very independent and leans toward GJ on civil liberties. ME, NH, VT have overlapping media markets. AK very L oriented, stong LP past.

    WY, ID, MT
    ND, SD, NE

    Small, cheap and wide open for LP recruitment. LP Never really tried in these states outside of MT in the past.

    In addition, ME and NE divide their electoral votes, meaning these are good long term targets where we could peel off a single electoral vote.

    NM – because of GJ, obviously

    These first 10 states plus NM would require a minimum of $1.2 million for major network broadcast TV time before election day, probably double that before we could consider going on.

    7 more states to think on after the first 11 above:

    NV, UT – probably too large and expensive, but western GJ states.

    RI, DE – because they are small and may be open to GJ on civil liberties issues. RI and DE however, have problems with expensive overlapping media advertising prices from high cost high population neighbors. RI and DE would require a shift to more targeted forms of advertising that do not require buying the overlap.

    HI – small state, Rs are weak, maybe they would like an L like GJ. Interesting as a test.

    These would be very high cost, high population states:
    CO – because of the marijuana referendum
    AZ – as a western GJ state

  28. NewFederalist

    “We should not be in the left/right debate at all since liberty is something completely different. Many young people get this but unfortunately they still lump us in with the Fox News right and we need to stop feeding this false perception.”

    I agree with this wholeheartedly! When I was a boy the LP used to say they were neither left nor right OR that they were both left and right. That “brand” is the only way to set the party apart for everybody else. It’s call Libertarian Party 101. No one talks like that anymore. Now we have all this “left-libertarian” or “right-libertarian” stuff. I say there is libertarian and everything else. The everything else doesn’t matter to me. If you can’t sell that then you can’t sell shit!

  29. Steven Wilson

    1. In brand equity, there is Keller and then everybody else. So outside of empirical data, the point is boring even on a blog.

    2. Wayne Root is not so popular that he could be identified as the primary variant of causation in any state, including Nevada.

    3. Voters are customers.

    4. Perception is reality.

    5. Radio is still King in the noise of a marketing mix in a game with substitute goods.

  30. Mohamed Jihad

    If you can’t sell that then you can’t sell shit!

    A truly wise seller of camel dung can provide for his family in the village of a thousand camels.

    But with trust in Allah even the least among you can sell camel dung in a village where a camel has never been seen in the lifetime of the eldest elder.

    Allah be praised!

  31. Robert Capozzi

    34 z, I guess we’ll never get an explanation of how what you declare to be “reality” is in fact “reality,” or even compelling opinion. My guess is Team GJwon’t adopt the Zapper Plan.

    Are you prone to the ex post “I told you so” carp syndrome? It’s good to know beforehand….

  32. Humongous Fungus

    My guess is Team GJ won’t adopt the Zapper Plan.

    Maybe not exactly…but I’ve heard they are adopting something along those lines….or at least seriously thinking about it.

  33. Robert Capozzi

    40 hf, that would be an interesting test, too. If they do a modified Zapper Plan, will Zapper be saying in mid-Nov., If only they did EXACTLY as I, Zapper, said, they would have gotten 50% more votes, blah blah blah….

  34. Robert Capozzi

    26 p, I breezed through these, looking for relevant data. All I saw was “our slate of 255 U.S. House candidates received 1.7 million votes. ” That sounds pretty good, as he says it was the first time a 3rd party bested 1MM. Analytically, however, I have no idea whether the Browne strategy boosted that or not. We’d need to see a whole lot more data…how many House candidates ran in previous years, their vote totals, whether Browne’s campaign strategy was the reason the vote totals went up….did he campaign with those candidates who did well, etc.

    IOW, real analysis, not disembodied factoids.

  35. zapper

    @41 Actually, RC, there is no “exact” Zapper plan since I haven’t taken the time or gathered the data to determine exactly what I would do.

    If they asked, and if we could gather all the necessary data to even formulate and exact plan through their offices, I would be willing to help develop a more defined plan.

    However, I will be happy to see some sort of modified plan and always expected they would develop their own plan, hopefully including my suggestions, but also including a knowledge of where GJ and JG will be campaigning and other relevant factors as discussed before (ballot access, a special referendum, situational conditions etc).

    In order to reach the appropriate sales personel in each station and obtain the best available rates – especially run of station, news program packages and other packages with lower prices per spot (specifying times and programs is much more expensive) – requires that the enquiries come from a campaign representative and that correspondence is returned to an official campaign email or regular address.

    We would need to put together a budget – available and anticipated funding – and then get prices for each media market that it was possible to target based on that budget. There is no need and no time to gather data and spend time on states that we will never have enough money to reach.

    Since the LP has virtually no data used to make better choices, 2012 should be considered a base year for testing. We should gather as much data as possible about our advertising program – if we actually have one.

    Obviously this means keeping track of the ads purchased, the prices, the demographics for all spots, by station, by market, program, time etc in all markets.

    Each ad should carry an 800# to measure prospects generated within a time window following each spot. We will also want to gather data to help us look at the effects on polling numbers by state, before and after advertising, and effects on vote totals in the coverage area following the election. We can correlate prospects with the ads to determine effectiveness of each of the elements: which ad, market, demographic mix, time of day, type of program, actual program – states/markets where we don’t advertise will serve as controls as they should generate some prospects from other sources.

    To actuallly test the Zapper plan at all would require targeting at least some whole states – small ones due to budget constraints – with enough ads to have a measurable impact. I have suggested a first round minimum @ 5 cents per capita followed by a second round of at least the same size.

    If we chose at least 3 states: say WY, AK, ME we could at least see if there was any effect within a state.

    If we could boost that to 8 states:
    ME, NH, VT,
    AK
    WY, ID, MT
    NV
    … then we could start to look for nationwide leverage effects.

    Running ads targeting enough small states to boost polling results is intended to gain leverage to gain free nationwide media – earned media – from such a polling surprise.

    Leverage is one of the main short term benefits from the Zapper plan. We can generate free media – on a local, state and national level – worth far more than all the ads we could buy just running on cable, or on markets scattered nationwide, but not targeting a state.

    I wouldn’t expect much nationwide leverage from 1 to 3 states. From a larger group of small states, say 11 as in my earlier post @34 of 10 plus NM, I would expect a lot of nationwide earned media. But can we raise enough funds?

    In the end, 2012 should be a test year for advertising for the LP. A lot more useful data could be gathered if the budget allows enough advertising to be purchased.

    In addition to running a high level of major network Broadcast TV spots in small states, if the campaign wanted to try a radio only program in one or two states, cable TV only in another, internet only in another, etc. as far as funds allow, that would generate useful data as well to compare and contrast.

    Since every state is unique, the amounts spent per capita will vary, as will the mix of ads and a host of other factors, results will have to be interpreted with a lot of qualifiers, caveats, and conditions. We should be able to generate useful data for planning and more questions for future LP advertising programs to consider.

    Beyond running the ad program – the Zapper plan – I have been concerned about the funding. This is separate from the actual ad program.

    We have to raise a large sum, we need to maximize the excitement to encourage maximum donor support. Toward that end I have suggested that more funds could be raised by a special appeal for TV advertising funds that promises 100% will go on the air. Donors like knowing that their funds will be well-spent and I anticipate they would respond accordingly.

  36. paulie

    I breezed through these, looking for relevant data. All I saw was “our slate of 255 U.S. House candidates received 1.7 million votes. ” That sounds pretty good, as he says it was the first time a 3rd party bested 1MM. Analytically, however, I have no idea whether the Browne strategy boosted that or not. We’d need to see a whole lot more data…how many House candidates ran in previous years, their vote totals, whether Browne’s campaign strategy was the reason the vote totals went up….did he campaign with those candidates who did well, etc.

    IOW, real analysis, not disembodied factoids.

    As I said in my previous comment, I have seen the data you ask for but don’t know where and have no time to look for it. I will be very busy for at least the next 6 weeks.

    Browne cites letters from people who heard about the LP through his media appearances and liked it, and voted for other LP candidates as a result, but did not vote for him due to their fear of Gore. He got many other such letters, and for every letter he got there were many other people who did not write him but felt and acted the same way.

    Without looking at any stats we know that he got a lot more media than local candidates get, as he points out at some length in the report. We also know that local LP candidates get a lot more votes than LP presidential candidates. Thus, it can be deduced logically without statistical analysis that there are a lot of people who only hear of the LP through presidential races, but vote for LP local candidates, not presidential.

    Also, from speaking to them, I know many candidates themselves only ran – or even heard of the LP – because of Browne, so the impact on cumulative vote totals was even greater.

  37. Dave

    Zapper you mentioned something about an LP ad strategy in MT. What was that about? In 2000 Harry Browne materials came out of Montana.

  38. Robert Capozzi

    43 z, what I’ve not seen you do is justify why network vs. cable vs. internet.

  39. zapper

    The LP has very limited resources to reach the public. We have no way to advertise and reach more than a tiny portion of the public if we try to reach the people directly. If we try to spread our resources nationwide, our message will be almost totally UNseen.

    Think of lifting a rock with your bare hands.

    To reach the American people nationwide requires the use of free media. Free media is not granted automatically. They do not care that our message is different or important or whatever else we may think.

    Many individuals and groups have a message. They all believe that they deserve or are even entitled to free media coverage. They are not. We are not.

    We have to earn our free media.

    We have to have a strategy.

    To reach an individual requires repeat exposures to our message. A single ad viewing will result in almost zero response. We need multiple exposures to our message.

    Multiple exposures require targeting.

    If we target on an isolated seldom seen form of advertising – cable TV or the internet – but do so nationwide, we could get multiple exposures with a tiny group of people. We could gain some members, donors, supporters and votes. These would be spread nationwide. The response would not be measurable anywhere. No one would notice. We would earn NO free media.

    It is the value of the free media we are attempting to obtain. The media and the general public will not notice, care or be moved at all by insignificant spots on cable and the internet. It has been tried and failed over and over by the LP.

    If we target a small state where we can use our limited resources to reach a significant portion of the total population of the state with repeat advertising we can move the polls significantly. We will be noticed. We will earn free media in that state. This will increase our exposure and drive our support and polls higher.

    If we do this in several small states, our increase in the polls will start to impact the election. It will provide an interesting twist for coverage. It will earn nationwide free media.

    Our nationwide free media coverage we can earn this way will be worth more – multiples more – than the cost of the targeted advertising.

    We can then reach a significant portion of the general public nationwide with earned free media.

    This is called leverage.

    Using a lever to move a large rock allows you to move a far larger rock than you could move with your muscles and bare hands.

    Humans have learned to use their brains and use levers and other tools to gain leverage over their environment.

    It is time the LP leadership learned to use leverage in the political marketplace.

    This first step in the Zapper plan is only the beginning. We can use continuing followup planned marketing to make our limited resources go many times farther and finally build a significant political party that can win elections.

    LP principles have never been a problem for the marketing of the LP, winning elections and moving America toward Liberty.

    Our problem has always been poor leadership and a lack of a sophisticated strategic vision and plan.

    To reach enough of the total population of a whole state to affect the polls and begin the program of earning free media requires Major Network Broadcast TV advertising. There is NO other way to reach enough people.

    We can do that by targeting the smallest states.

    After buying a significant amount of Major Network Broadcast TV time, we can move on to Radio.

    Radio is the second most important form of advertising for us to move polls, earn free media coverage, earn credibility in the public eye, and obtain noticable vote totals – finally – on a state by state basis. Over time, when we have grown to the point of having funds to fill in niches, cable and internet advertising will become useful.

    Internet and cable reach only a small segment of the general public. They will not move polls. They will not allow us to target a state. Internet and cable are useful for filling niches of the market AFTER you have saturated the general public on Major Network Broadcast TV and radio. They are not useful in a targeted advertising campaign that has the purpose of using leverage to obtain subsequent free media.

    It’s time to work smarter not harder.

  40. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@46,

    “what I’ve not seen you do is justify why network vs. cable vs. internet.”

    I thought we’d discussed this before, but, let’s look at the numbers for the week of July 15th:

    Top broadcast network: CBS, with average prime time viewership of 5.45 million viewers.

    Top cable network: USA, with average prime time viewership of 2.997 million viewers.

    News-oriented cable channels that made the ratings: Fox News with average prime time viewership of 1.7 million; MSNBC, with average prime time viewership of 748,000.

    Broadcast reaches a lot more people, even setting aside that a Fox News or MSNBC viewer is far less likely to be uncommitted/persuadable than a broadcast TV viewer (hint: They’re watching Fox News or MSNBC because they are already “conservative” or “liberal”).

  41. zapper

    We need to reach large numbers within single small states. We have to start with the largest, not the smallest, groups of people.

    Of course we have to consider the types of programs during which we run our spots, while buying packages that allow for some leeway by the station, they will be demographically targeted as well.

    So we start with the major broadcast networks and work our way down.

    Nearly everyone who watches cable channels will also watch the major broadcast networks some of the time, so we will hit them some of the time on the major networks without running cable.

    However, if we run cable only we will miss the overwhelming majority of the public.

  42. George Phillies

    The actual rational approach is dollars per impression, not larger or smaller audience.

    The most notable feature of the numbers Tom is quoting is that even the largest network reaches an insignificant fraction of the voting population.

    The rational alternative is (i) New York and DC; (ii) news networks, talk radio, “sports” and “women’s” channels, NPR. You are not trying to reach voters, though you do. You are trying to put bright shiny things up in front of newscasters, columnists, and the like.

  43. George Phillies

    Simultaneous with this, you do bulk rate direct mail to all of the columnists, news reporters, TV people, etc., that you can find, though the very top end people will be shielded by legions of flak catchers.

  44. Thomas L. Knapp

    GP@50,

    “The actual rational approach is dollars per impression, not larger or smaller audience.”

    I guess that depends on what you mean by “rational.”

    Somewhere in the neighborhood of 120 million people will vote in the next election.

    Any given party or candidate will either reach a substantial portion of that electorate, or not.

    It’s worth spending more per impression to reach sub-sets of that electorate that are more likely predisposed to vote or support you.

    It’s worth spending less per impression to reach sub-sets of that electorate that are less likely predisposed to vote or support you.

    But if you ever intend to be competitive, you’re going to have to figure out how to reach, and persuade, a plurality of that 120 million — regardless of howe expensive it is to do so, in “per impression” terms or otherwise.

  45. NewFederalist

    This is beginning to remind me of Bob Milnes and PLAS. This thread didn’t start out to have anything to do with “the zapper plan” but has sure taken a decided turn in that direction!

  46. Zapper

    @50 & 51 You are advocating what the LP has always done and what has always failed – again, and again and again.

    Failed leadership with no strategic vision is our problem.

    Cost per impression is not important. It is the saturation of whole markets to move polls and build momentum. This gets free media worth multiples of the cost.

    What you are suggesting by mailing directly to the media is what doesn’t work. You try mailing directly to the media. They get your junk mail and see that you are nowhere in the polls. They are not stupid. They can see that you are trying to use them. This is exactly what everyone looking for free media coverage on the news tries to do – Use the Media.

    Likewise, the LP cannot afford to advertise enough in the large city markets or the national market to “impress” the media. Even if we tried this, they could see that that was the only thing we were trying to do – impress the media. Another fail.

    Neither the LP nor the Johnson campaign has the money to do either NY city or DC in any case. The media wouldn’t see it and the markets are too big for us to move the polls in those less than Libertarian areas. The DC media market is bigger in population and less Libertarian leaning than the First 7 whole states listed in the Zapper plan. The NY City market is bigger and more expensive than the entire first 11 states.

    Combined, the Johnson campaign could buy the entire first 11 states of the Zapper plan and run all four major broadcast networks throughout the entire group cheaper than what it would take to advertise effectively in Washington DC and New York City.

    We could raise GJ to 15% in the polls in eleven states cheaper than trying to fool the media in two big cities – and to fool enough of the media we’d have to cover Chicago and LA at a minimum along with NY City and DC.

    The best way to impress the media is to do real politics. Show them that you are actually able to reach voters and get some polling numbers. This means outreach to real voters in real states using real media. It means we actually work to build state LP orgs in these states, win elections there and win electoral votes there.

    When we produce results somewhere we will be covered.

    The best way to get media coverage is to do something serious and NOT tell them that you are doing it. They much prefer to cover the news that they’ve uncovered themselves, or seen covered by a competitor, without getting some useless press release.

  47. Thane Eichenauer

    @53, You are correct except that he who few wanted to listen to and the plan fewer thought worthy of discussing was widely rejected. Zapper listens to others more or less and other folks find his plan to be worthy of critiquing.
    If Zapper and his commenters were to ever engage in an organized discussion perhaps a person with IPR posting capacity could make a post for nothing else other than discussion of the strong and weak points of the Zapper plan.
    People can always take the discussion to the July Open Thread post…
    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2012/07/july-2012-open-thread/
    My primary hope is that the discussion topic doesn’t end up as a bad recap of a SNL Point/Counterpoint skit.

  48. Zapper

    @55 Actually, GP, I am aware of what the LP has done in the past. You seem to have a need to defend failure and make up a pretend history.

    However, since you claim, so far without any facts, that the LP has actually tried real advertising before, just name the states and years that the LP has spent a minimum of 10 cents per capita for the whole state on one or two flights of ads on Major Network Broadcast TV either as a party building project or on a statewide campaign for POTUS, Gov or US Senate.

    You have failed to provide any such data over two months which tells us the answer.

  49. Robert Capozzi

    54 z: Cost per impression is not important. It is the saturation of whole markets to move polls and build momentum. This gets free media worth multiples of the cost.

    me: Huh? I’m sorry, but you contradict yourself. CPM is how saturation happens! Target a lopsided state with Internet advertising goes a LOT further than the Zapper plan.

    And I thought you agreed early on that the “free media” concept is insignificant. Hard news reporting on the prez campaign in places like Missoula is scant.

    We’ve also not seen any qualitative analysis of viewership. Shut in octogenarians watching the Portland CBS affiliate is probably not a good demo for Ls, for ex.

  50. Sane LP member

    It will be expensive to advertise in so-called “battleground” states, no?
    The old major parties will put a pile of money into those states, if the polls show a close race. LP and GJ do not have those deep pockets.

  51. zapper

    Internet advertising reaches such a tiny segment of the population that it is actually worth almost nothing. The tiny cost per impression is actually overvalued because it’s new and hip and a lot of computer nuts overestimate its value based on romantic hype. It’s part of the .com bubble effect.

    Leverage is the reason for targeting. It’s the ONLY way the LP will ever succeed.

    Yes, and I do mean ONLY. There is no doubt.

    We have to get the earned media. We have to earn it through some form of leverage. We can never buy enough directly.

    We need a leadership that understands advertising and promotion and how it actually works.

    Cost per impression for the Internet and Cost per thousand (M – in Roman Numerals) is irrelevant for us, except in choosing between alternative packages for Major Network Broadcast TV within a targeted state.

    I never agreed with what you’ve said, RC. I think you read your own post.

  52. Robert Capozzi

    60 z, right, well, we’d need to see the math for others to share your lack of doubt. Unless, of course, we are all to share – just because! – the view of a pseudonym who posts some interesting things, seems to have some insights, but never seems willing or able to put meat on the bones of his/her bold assertions! (Consider stepping outside yourself for a moment and imagine what you are asking us to buy!!!)

    So, we’d need to see how you qualify network affiliate viewers. If it’s heavily skewed toward octogenarian shut ins and 14 year old, pimply faced kids, we’d want to see how you normalize for that.

    We’d want to see your sensitivity testing. If Internet ads only reach 20% of the qualified (non-octo, non-pimply faced) network affiliate viewership (and Internet ad viewers, to be fair), but the CPM is 5% of the cost, saturation might be achieved on the Internet. Saturation might NOT be possible on the network affiliate channel.

    As for network-affiliate news, I confess I almost never watch it. I’ve lived in major markets most of my life, and whenever I watch those news programs, the coverage of national prez campaigns is negligible and light…maybe a quick cutaway to national and state polling figures, for ex. Now, perhaps Missoula and Portland are different. Is there research that indicates that Missoula and Portland network affiliate local news covers things like 3rd party candidates for prez? Or is local news across the nation dominated by car wrecks, domestic disputes gone haywire, sports and weather? Ever open minded here, but my bias is that the latter is likely the prevalent observation.

    “Free” media is a great thing…don’t misunderstand. I just wonder whether you are leaping to a grandiose conclusion based on no precedent. Yes, MAYBE if Team GJ were running saturation ads in Portland and he showed up at a Portland County Fair, the local news team MIGHT show up…MIGHT. Might that be worth a test? Perhaps. Would I stake an entire campaign strategy on such a gambit? Without numbers, no f-ing way.

    My bias is that “free” media of any substance is a nationalized thing for prez campaigns. If there was evidence to the contrary, I will of course consider it. But if I were going to test that, ABQ’d be the place for GJ for obvious reasons.

  53. Mark Hilgenberg

    Even though I think it is better financially to spend the most money in non-swing states, I think the big key zapper and others are missing is popularity.

    In order for our candidate to really take off we need wide spread pop popularity. This won’t come from traditional advertising, this come from Grassroots College based activism and national TV appearances on more shows like the daily Show.

    Fortunately and unfortunately Ron Paul has taken on cult status for many, he is not the leader of the liberty movement, he is liberty in the eyes of many. We need Johnson to take this mantle back for the LP and it won’t come from traditional advertising.

  54. Mark Axinn

    Joe @23.

    You say that you voted for RP twice for Pres.

    I voted for him the only time he was on the ballot, in 1988.

    When else did you? If it was a write-in, why was that a better choice than the LP candidate that year?

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