Gary Johnson: Be Libertarian With Me

Today’s new youtube ad from the Johnson for President campaign:

The youtube blurb:

Two-term Governor, Gary Johnson, says both parties are indistinguishable from one another. Both are keeping America broke. Both are keeping America at war. Both have trampled on the Constitution. And both are stooges to the same big money players that never change behind the scenes. It’s time to put our differences and our parties aside and come together as a nation for the good of all. We The People are ready to LIVE FREE.

Discussion of this youtube ad has so far dominated this previous thread where I posted it in the comments, but I thought I would give it its own thread so that people who don’t regularly read IPR comments would have a chance to catch it as well.

46 thoughts on “Gary Johnson: Be Libertarian With Me

  1. Steven Berson

    Yup – agreed – definitely the step in the right direction. Go with this vibe and polish it up a little bit and I’d say the next ones could be gold. Got to say I’ve been impressed that the GJ campaign at least has been persistent in releasing videos and that they’ve actually listened to some feedback about them to improve them as they go along.

  2. George Whitfield

    Excellent video. I will be putting links to this on other websites.

  3. Nick Kruse

    If a shortened version of this can be show on television, this video could win him tons of votes. The Libertarian Super PAC and the Gary Johnson campaign need to start working on getting this on TV.

  4. just saying

    Johnson supporters — not necessarily the campaign itself — should be explicitly appealing to voters to tell posters they are voting for Gary Johnson even if they haven’t fully decided to do so, in order to support his presence in the debates.

  5. Shawn Levasseur

    Nice. Edgy.

    Not going to be mistaken for anyone else’s ad.

    And I like the interesting tactic of reaching to other 3rd parties as well. Don’t know how well that’ll play over the long haul, but it feels more active rather than just passively waiting for Paul supporters to come in after the GOP convention.

  6. Austin Battenberg

    Here are some posts from the other thread that I think are important to the discussion:

    “Robert Capozzi // Jun 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Wow! This ad comes close to a A+.

    It’s an A for 2 reasons:

    1) I would flip the appeals to “disaffected” Rs and Ds” and the Constitution, Green and Ls. Does he mention independents? It felt weird for him to mention “Constitution Party” first, of all things. (Of course, almost no one knows the CP, so no real damage there, and the name seems benign.)

    2) The fadeaways to GJ seated and speaking just look weird to me. I might even say really weird, actually. There’s got to be better footage. Or, have him giving the ad’s narration as a speech. Have him standing, not sitting on a couch. Or show footage of him from Colbert or Stewart. Heck, show footage of him during the R debates, so long as we don’t see the other candidates. Something else! Fix this!

    New subliminal message at the end reads: “1776 kicks 1984?s ass.” Team GJ is certainly getting edgier, Paulie! I – Mr. Chillaxed Civility – approve. Somehow, a “middle finger” in the last ad and the subliminal “ass” in this one works.

    Also, the cutaway near the end is from a Lee Wrights ad. Frankly, I never cared for that shot…it feels one-dimensional to me. I do like the sentiment, though.

    BTW, the TV turned sideways is fucking brilliant! It burnishes the harsh-but-true message he delivers.

    6 Robert Capozzi // Jun 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm


    reviewed, he says “Tea” before “Constitution.” Works a bit better than more initial take, but I still think the appeal should be more like:

    independents, disaffected, Tea, L, Constitution and Green.

    7 Robert Capozzi // Jun 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    still more…

    “Be L with me for one election” is inspired! The repeated use of the word “together” is tonally a grand slam. That’s the message! It’s an anti-DC message, but, importantly, a pro-people message.

    Some Ls may find this too “collectivist,” but politics is a numbers game. Net taxpayers still outnumber tax consumers, so think of it in those terms, if necessary….

    8 Robert Capozzi // Jun 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    one more…

    Does this ad mention “Governor”? Don’t think so. Seems like it should….

    Eric Blitz // Jun 6, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    I love the rough edges of this latest ad, it has energy and an ‘in your face’ brashness that sometimes you need before you put the suit back on. (funny to me as the fade-ins were to Gary talking in a suit…)

    Austin Battenberg // Jun 6, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Yea, I like this ad a LOT more then all the previous ads with the same music and the same photo. But I agree with Robert I was not too impressed with the image fading in and out with him sitting there talking. It’s not even of him saying what he is narrating, so his lips don’t sync. The other problem is right at :32 in, it fads to him right as he begins talking about the people who’s fault it is for causing all the problems in America, so the timing is kind of bad.

    Also, when he started with the Tea Party, I figured he would have mentioned the Occupy movement, but he didn’t. I don’t know if that would have been a good idea or not. But yes, independents should have been mentioned as well.

    Is it possible that he could take some of these videos and send them to other individuals in the LP to review before he posts them on youtube so he can get a little advice? Because this is a great commercial, but it is a little rough. Just needs a little more improvements.

    Robert Capozzi // Jun 6, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    12 ab, I’d not thought of Occupy…interesting. If pressed, I’d advise against mentioning it. While I’d like to somehow associate with both the Tea and Occupy movements, Occupy seems just too associated with an anti-markets, anti-wealth perspective.

    16 paulie // Jun 6, 2012 at 5:44 pm


    Just as Tea Party seems now to associated with anti-migrant, coercively social conservative warmongers.

    There’s good and bad in both Tea Party and Occupy, and I agree if you mention one, mention both.

    Also say “Democratic Party” not Democrat Party. And do mention independents and those who have never seen a good reason to actually vote until now.

    Overall I like it a lot though, sorry for the nitpicking.

    Robert Capozzi // Jun 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    16 p, I do hear you. I associate the Tea Party predominantly with economic issues, but I grant that may not be the prevalent association…dunno.

    And deeper down there was some positive energy in the Occupiers, too. Again, my principal association with them is the 99% thing. And again my perceptions may be off here….

    Ross // Jun 6, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    17 Robert, I’m not surprised. Unfortunately for us, the best libertarians tend to completely lack a desire for public office. That might be what makes them the best libertarians.

    As for the Tea Party and Occupy, mention both or mention neither. Either one will turn off a lot of people. That might be mitigated if both are mentioned, but avoiding them both is probably the safest course.

    Robert Capozzi // Jun 6, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    19 ross, Team GJ will do what they will do. In my mind I’d like to think someone on the campaign scans IPR as a kind of free focus group.

    Whether they take our feedback is probably unlikely, but they might here and there. They’ve already mentioned the Tea Party, which I’d say on balance was a fine move. Mentioning both could be better. Mentioning neither could, too. The end the wars, stop the police state imagery should immunize from the latter-day image of the Tea Party as just the full-spectrum conservative movement association that I get you and Paulie’d like to avoid (as would I). (I would think early-days Tea Party is an association we’d all like to see, as it was in some ways a L project at the outset.)

    What we don’t know is how much bandwidth Team GJ has. How many cuts did they do of this piece? Can they afford to do more cuts?

    As is, for me it’s an A, with some disappointing aspects to it. Like in all things, I guess we just have to take the good with the bad….

    Robert Capozzi // Jun 6, 2012 at 6:50 pm


    I let some hours pass and re-viewed the ad. I’m almost of a mind to say it’s imperative to re-cut the GJ b/w footage. Yes, the sound gives a sense of him broadcasting this from a bunker, but making it look like he’s IN a bunker is just too much. And 12 AB’s point about the cut making it look like GJ’s part of the problem is really concerning.

    Just one man’s opinion, but imagemaking is what this game is about. Why settle for MY COUSIN VINNY when you have GONE WITH THE WIND in reach?

    25 Be Rational // Jun 6, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Again, to the Johnson campaign:

    I have to say that I agree with Robert Capozzi’s comments about this spot nearly 100%. (A rare event.)

    The visuals of Johnson seem weird.

    Try something else. Maybe, Johnson’s face, with the words Governor Gary Johnson below,
    should appear on the sideways TV or in some other way to distinguish the fact that he is speaking and he is not part of the problem being referenced.”

  7. Austin Battenberg

    I think the most important criticism on the video is when Gary begins talking about the problems with America, and it immediately cuts to his face as he is saying this. If a casual viewer was watching, it would almost seem as though he was talking about himself.

  8. langa

    This is a huge improvement over the previous ads. I just wish that he would speak as boldly and decisively in interviews as he does in these ads. I know it’s hard to do, but it sounds so much better.

  9. Starchild

    I find myself agreeing with just about every single thing that everyone else has said in the preceding comments. Even Robert Capozzi’s. What a strange feeling. I like it. 🙂

  10. Jeff Sexton

    Absolutely his best ad yet. Completely concur that the campaign needs to tighten it up a bit in spots, shorten it to 30 seconds (MAYBE 1 min), and start getting this on TV. One prime spot would be… during coverage of the Big Govt Party conventions on network TV…. 😉

    Still PISSED about the AP report on pot being a potential factor in the CO POTUS race, and yet Johnson wasn’t mentioned. Recommend a pro-pot vid to the Denver markets… 😉

  11. Robert Capozzi

    I’m a bit surprised that the Punctuation Nazis have not called out “office, again.” 😉

    ‘Nuther tweak would be Revolution 2.0, not just 2.

  12. Starchild

    Another idea for an edit on this Gary Johnson ad — along with the shout out to those in the other political parties, add an appeal to people who aren’t into politics.

    Perhaps something like — “If you find politics boring or distasteful, I understand. But sometimes it’s too important to ignore — it has huge effects on many people’s lives, including yours. Do something positive for your community, be libertarian with me.”

  13. Paulie

    Starchild – good idea, although it might make an ad that’s already on the long side even longer. Maybe that should be a whole separate ad.

  14. JT

    I like Starchild’s linguistic suggestion & Paulie’s suggestion that it may be better as a separate ad. I’d think that many potential Libertarian supporters do find politics generally distasteful. An ad that speaks directly to those people could be a valuable one.

  15. Robert Capozzi

    I like both ideas. As a separate ad, imagine a 20-something tossing and turning. Maybe sleeping on a cot in his/her parents basement.

    Suddenly, that sideways b/w TV in the corner comes on. It’s all static-y. GJ delivers that message SC suggests.

    Could be powerful stuff…

    Jus’ throwin’ it out there…

  16. Robert Capozzi

    Indeed, I could imagine a series of youtubes with that static-y b/w sideways TV used as a theme to target various disenfranchised people.

    A middle class couple, kids in crappy public schools, still haven’t paid off the student loans, he got laid off and had to take a crummy job to keep health insurance, she’s working in a dr.s office. etc. etc. etc.

  17. zapper

    It’s a bit more pricy to run at 2 minutes, but this ad could be a good kick-off for the Zapper media plan.

    How to edit:

    To get down to two minutes you need to delete the first 3 seconds off the introductory noise at the very beginning.

    Then at the end, immediately following the words “Live Free” you insert the tag line:
    “This is Gary Johnson and I approve this message” or whatever is required.

    The spot ends then Immediately following the lightning strike and the hidden message – at 2.03. All of the “participate …” stuff is cut.

    The Campaign contact information should be included earlier, making a two minute spot.

    The words can appear under GJ when he appears to be talking:

    Gary Johnson
    Libertarian for President

    When he appears talking again, just include the website.

    Then, let’s start immediately with a fundraising drive to get this on the air in the first target states. We’ll have to buy fewer insertions, but this could be effective with the striking style, effective message and length of this spot at 2 minutes.

    Start with: ME, NH, VT, AK, WY
    Follow with: MT, ID, NM if we can raise enough …

    We can find 80 big donors to max out and get this on the air … insert before and after local news morning, noon, evening, late over 1 week … before July.

  18. B4Liberty

    Will video’s be played at Freedom Fest? At the very least the GJ booth could include a loop of this.

    (I assume there will be a GJ booth)

  19. George Whitfield

    On the Daily Paul website this Gary Johnson ad is getting favorable reviews and they are a tough bunch to impress. There is something intangible about the ad that inspires. It is effective.

  20. Robert Capozzi

    Interestingly, this ad seems to be a hit across the L spectrum. Paulistas, Rockwell, and Reason all seem to like it. The comments on the Reason site seem similar to those here.

    It’s impossible for such a project to please everyone. Not gonna happen. That it (overall) works very well for me – a person offput by strident, in-your-face politics – and someone like Rockwell (who seems to luxuriate in stridency) tells me that Team GJ is definitely onto something here.

    I think the campaign IS now finding its center.

    I was of a mind a few months ago that the “war” issue was largely played. But BHO’s extension of the Afghanistan war opens up some very interesting possibilities for opportunistic exploitation…um, I mean teachable moments.

    How about getting a bit grizzly, actually? How about talking a lot about the suicide rates of returning vets? How about talking about the maiming of so many young people?

    And for what?

    Building stuff “over there” “half a world away”.

    And for what?

  21. zapper

    This video has been up on Youtube for only 2 days and it’s already got more than 12,000 hits.

    Let’s get it on TV guys. Major network TV in targeted states. Don’t miss this chance.

  22. Robert Capozzi

    34 z, apples and oranges. The trade off is Internet vs. TV media buys and relative CPM. So far, it’s just production costs, email and web postings.

    Surely you know that!

  23. zapper

    The tradeoff is that right now we can catch a wave and build enough excitement, recruit enough new supporters and donors, interest enough media for free coverage, and generate enough of an increase in the polls to become part of the action in THIS election.

    Debates, maybe. Build the LP for something bigger next time, definitely.

    Miss the opportunity and nothing happens.

    Investing in the future requires risking some money for a potential return.

    No pain. No gain.
    No risk. No reward.

    The opportunity is now.

  24. zapper

    It’s not apples and oranges. That’s what we’ve got now. Eat them or they rot.

    But, we have a chance for apple trees and orange trees.

    Plant those seeds. Watch them grow. Harvest their fruit.

  25. Robert Capozzi

    37 z, sorry Zapper. The operative term is BUYS. I should have framed it more clearly…Internet BUYS vs. TV BUYS. Buys, of course, involve dollars, not pseudonymous figures posting on obscure websites, sometimes offering interesting by half-baked insights.

  26. zapper

    @38 As Andy Dufresne would ask Warden Norton: “How can you be so obtuse?”

    You keep discussing CPM as if that was important.

    Consider an unemployed man. One day he was standing outside a high-rise office building. A limo drives up and a wealthy man gets out. The wealthy man asks the unemployed man to help him with a heavy bag. The unemployed man carries that bag into the office building, over to the elevator and up to the offices of the wealthy man. The wealthy man gives him a $10 tip.

    Now, the unemployed man keeps thinking about that money. He made $10 in 10 minutes. So, he determines that he will not work any job that pays him less than $60 per hour. After all, that’s what he had earned for that single 10 minutes time.

    So, the unemployed man remains unemployed. He turns down factory jobs, construction jobs, restaurant jobs – he could be earning $12/hour or more – $500 and more per week, instead of doing nothing.

    But, he sits and dreams of the big money he thinks he should earn and does nothing.

    And that’s what the Johnson campaign is doing. They might pick up thousands of views and some interested supporters and donors on the internet for a low cost. But they’re wasting the opportunity to reach millions of viewers on major network TV.

    The unemployed man had time on his hands and wasted it.

    Likewise, the Johnson campaign has fundraising ability on its hands and is wasting it.

    You see, as I’ve repeated before. There are many donors who will give nothing (or very little) when the campaign is doing nothing (or very little). But, if the Johnson sets up a dedicated, guaranteed fundraising program where ever dollar donated – 100% – is promised to be used to buy time, only time, on targeted, major network TV ads during optimum times bracketing news programs, then they will get thousands of dollars in donations that they will not get otherwise. And they can put those dollars to work on TV and get more supporters, donors, increased free media, higher poll numbers, and eventually votes … and they can use new money raised to keep the ads going.

    They are not being wise investors by not doing this. Rather they are just wasting the opportunity to raise money that goes unraised. And so they miss the chance to invest it on TV. Just like the unemployed man misses his opportunity to earn money and put it to work earning more money.

    Just like the umemployed man, the Johnson campaign is wasting its potential, and this potential is based on time – time that is quickly running out.

    Perhaps like the unemployed man, the Johnson campaing, like all other LP POTUS campaigns, enjoys the opportunity to sit around and complain and moan about not having any money. After all, it’s easier than making an effort to go out and earn some money – and just like a job, donations are earned by offering something the donor will value.

    There is nothing to lose and everything to gain.

  27. Robert Capozzi

    39 z, ok, if you – who CLAIMED to be a “professional” – think that metrics like CPM are not important, I can only conclude that the claim of professional is a stretch.

    Not only do I agree with fundraising for specific ads, I suggested it to the campaign before the convention.

  28. Robert Capozzi

    more to z….

    ADR, but the Zapper Plan looks more like the unemployed man to me. Hold out for enough funds to run TV ads to reach millions.

    (I’d think that those paying attention know that people are increasingly shifting away from network, hitting mute buttons, using DVRs, etc. So it could be that fundraising for the Zapper Plan might be harder than fundraising for a Blitz the Net Plan, targeting especially lopsided states, which is where the numbers are!)

  29. paulie Post author

    If the Johnson campaign is not raising money to broadcast the ad (and they should be – even people who don’t donate may watch and pass it on) the LPHQ should be. I noticed they posted it at, but I don’t remember an email blast. That would be good email blast material. Maybe I forgot. If neither of them is doing it, someone reading may have their own list – hopefully one or more of they’ll put it out there and maybe even raise money for broadcasting the ad.

  30. zapper

    CPM is cost per thousand impressions and is a kind of make-believe metric used to get advertisers to spend on barely effective internet advertising. There is nothing quite the same for TV or radio because they have proven metrics.

    There are excellent metrics the LP can use, after running some ads in significant quantities. These would include: cost per new member generated, cost per lead generated, dollars raised per dollar spent, advertising cost per vote, change in statewide polling percentage per dollar percapita spent. Such stats could be derived from a well structured TV campaign by state, station, type of program, demographics of the targeted audience etc Such real data could be derived from internet advertising as well. The data collected in 2012 could be applied and added to in the future.

    The fact is, the Johnson campaign is the unemployed man. They are doing nothing and attempting nothing.

    They are waiting for money that won’t come and cannot be expected to come.

    The way to raise money is to raise money for a specific purpose and to guarantee that 100% of the money will be spent for that purpose. They have not yet done that and their low level of funds raised is proof.

    Many donors will only give for specific types of projects. They want 100% of their donations to go to such projects. This can be competely rational as a high percentage of money raised by various campaigns and charities in the US is wasted or spent on overpaid staff.

    There are many people who will not donate for internet advertising – because it is a niche and not a main event. You can win without doing it and you can’t win by doing that alone.

    The effort the campaign is making on the internet is like the unemployed man waiting for his next big tip. He might get one or two per year. It’s a niche that he can’t live on.

    The Zapper plan can be run one state at a time if need be. It is almost impossible to expect that there wouldn’t be enough money raised to begin to advertise in a single state and expand. And whatever we can raise and start with is better than doing nothing – which is what they are doing now.

    Waiting for money to come from general solicitations is not working. We can already see that.

    And I would not give nor solicit money from others without a guarantee that 100% of the money would be spent on major network TV spots, target by state as that is the only workable strategy. It is up to the campaign to set up the guaranteed advertising program. They can also set up and raise funds for particular ballot drives as such things are popular. Paying for an office and 3/4 of a million dollar salaries for campaign managers is not so popular.

    Without a working plan to reach out to the masses of voters, I would never make a general donation. That kind of money is typically wasted on the froufrous.

    Before an LP POTUS campaign opens an office or hires a staff, they should get their first $250,000 on TV – targeted major network TV by state.

    Promoting our political views is our product. Advertising our views is our product. We are like a startup business, and like any startup business, you need to develop, promote and sell your product first, before you add overhead, staff and other expenses and certainly before you add lots of silly froufrous.

    Advertising, promoting and spreading our message is our product.

    Fundraising for money to advertise is how we sell our product.

    Gaining new members, donors, supporters and votes is how we grow the business – we find new prospects by promoting our product. Thus, as we spread our views we also invest in our own future.

    So, advertising our message is not only our product, it’s how we invest in our future and build a bigger business.

    Since 1982 we’ve been doing almost nothing. Our POTUS campaigns have been the equivalent of setting up a kid’s 50 cent lemonade stand with crayon signage against McDonald’s. Not so cute when the little kid sitting out front is a middle-aged, former two-term governor who wants to be taken seriously.

  31. Robert Capozzi

    Z, sorry, CPM pre-dates the ‘net.

    Are you in conversations with GJ’s staff? You claim to know they are doing “nothing,” but that seems unlikely.

    At some point, trust…

  32. zapper

    RC, sorry, but I don’t think you know what CPM means: It means Cost Per Thousand. It is the Roman Numberal “M” – mille – used in mill rate for example in property taxes. Sure it predates the internet since it predates the birth of Christ. Although they wouldn’t have used the familiar initials. Which is why I made the remark that “you keep discussing CPM (cost per thousand) as if it’s important. It’s not.

    It’s like hollering that you should use “dollars” or you should use a “pencil” and expecting that is the important answer.

    CPM – as a term apart – is a way of comparing things that are fungible: It is used in buying paper and stationery items, hardware items, thousands of items. It is a term of cost accounting. It doesn’t tell us what advertising medium will produce the desired results. Rather, it is useful when the medium has been selected and other factors have been made constant.

    CPM is also used in systems engineering, construction engineering etc. where it is the Critical Path Method.

    I have used both of these professionally.

    They are both unrelated to what we’ve been discussing.

    Rather, I was attempting to point out to you that the use of “IMPRESSIONS” which is the item being measured, is not the same as other forms of advertising. It is an attempt to fool advertisers into buying internet advertising which has very little proven value. It appears cheap, and you get even less than you pay for.

    “CPM is cost per thousand IMPRESSIONS and is a kind of make-believe metric used to get advertisers to spend on barely effective internet advertising. There is nothing quite the same for TV or radio because they have proven metrics.”

    Here is the rest:

    “There are excellent metrics the LP can use, after running some ads in significant quantities.

    These would include:

    Cost per new member generated

    Cost per lead generated

    Dollars raised per dollar spent

    Advertising cost per vote

    Change in statewide polling percentage per dollar percapita spent.

    Such stats could be derived from a well structured TV campaign and broken down by state, media market, station, type of program, demographics of the targeted audience etc.

    Such real data could be derived from internet advertising as well. Since we can’t target every media market at all, we can try different things in different markets and compare results.

    The data collected in 2012 could be applied and added to in the future.

    We need to become professional about what we do, and for that we’ll have to take some risk to get on the learning curve. We need to experiment to develop our own base of data, metrics and rules of thumb that we can use, and revise as time passes.

    To do that we need to begin, finally, to advertise. Major network TV is still the recognized gold standard. We CAN afford to begin this project. It will raise it’s own funds and to the extent it is supported by the members and donors of the LP and the Gary Johnson campaign it can be rolled out state by state.

    Unfortunately, I expect that in the end we’ll just have one more year, along with all the others since, that we can compare and contrast with Clark 1980.

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