DemLabs blog

How does a candidate with little time or money get their message heard?

Stephanie Moore, a candidate for State Representative of Michigan's 60th district, met this challenge by creating her own radio spots and social media video ads with free software apps.

Radio Ads

Stephanie recorded one minute ads on the key issues in her district: employment, housing, water quality, and education. She placed the ads on local radio programs at times when voters were most likely listening. Radio ads may seem old school, but they are beneficial because they can be produced quickly, are affordable to place, and can be micro-targeted. Here is one of the ads

Stephanie Moore radio ad (1 min)

Video ad

Stephanie used the audio from the radio ad to create video ads which she shared on Facebook and Twitter. She used Lumen5 a free app, to create a 45 second sequence of relevant video clips. Lumen5 includes a large library of royalty-free, professionally produced video clips. This Lumen5 video clip was merged with the audio track from her radio ad and her campaign flyer using iMovie, a free app that comes with MacOS. The video was then captioned and translated into Spanish using a machine learning (ML) software service. The complete video was created in about two hours.

Watch her one minute campaign video in English or Spanish.

Caption & translate

"A survey of U.S. consumers found that 92% view videos with the sound off on mobile and 83% watch with sound off, according to a new report from Verizon Media and ad buyer Publicis Media. The report recommends that advertisers caption their advertisements because 80% of consumers are more likely to watch an entire video when captions are available." - NextTV

"Latinos are expected for the first time to be the nation’s largest racial or ethnic minority in a U.S. presidential election, with a record 32 million projected to be eligible to vote. They will account for 13.3% of all eligible voters. However, the number of Latino eligible voters is still far below the 60 million Latinos who live in the country." - Pew Research

New software makes it fast and affordable to translate and caption videos. A one minute video can now be captioned and translated into different languages for under $50. Software first produces a machine-generated transcription which is normally about 90% accurate. The transcription is reviewed manually and captions added. The video can be shared on social media, YouTube and other channels.

English captions

"Hello, I am Stephanie Moore and I'm running to be your state representative for the 60th District. The late, great John Lewis has spoken often about how he lived his life. When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just you must speak up. You have to do something. It is how I have chosen to live my life as well. While chairperson of the Kalamazoo County Commission, I became aware of a high number of foreclosures occurring in my district. I saw homelessness negatively impacting the safety net for the entire county. I adopt the principle that homeowners benefit the entire community. So I partnered with our County Treasurer to do something. Together we knocked on the door of every homeowner that faced foreclosure not just in my district, but in the entire County. Our efforts resulted in zero foreclosures on any owner occupied homes in Kalamazoo County. This is not just what I do, but who I am and how I represent my district. It is how I will represent you in Lansing. I am asking for your vote on August 4th. My name is Stephanie Moore and I approve this message."

Spanish translation

"Hola, soy Stephanie Moore y me presento para ser su representante estatal para el Distrito 60. El difunto, gran John Lewis ha hablado a menudo de cómo vivió su vida. Cuando ves algo que no está bien, no es justo, no sólo debes hablar. Tienes que hacer algo. Así es como he elegido vivir mi vida también. Mientras presidía la Comisión del Condado de Kalamazoo, me enteré de un alto número de embargos en mi distrito. Vi que la falta de vivienda afectaba negativamente a la red de seguridad de todo el condado. Adopto el principio de que los propietarios benefician a toda la comunidad. Así que me asocié con el Tesorero del Condado para hacer algo. Juntos llamamos a la puerta de cada propietario que se enfrentaba a una ejecución hipotecaria no sólo en mi distrito, sino en todo el condado. Nuestros esfuerzos resultaron en cero ejecuciones hipotecarias en cualquier casa ocupada por un propietario en el Condado de Kalamazoo. Esto no es sólo lo que hago, sino quién soy y cómo represento a mi distrito. Es cómo te representaré en Lansing. Les pido su voto el 4 de agosto. Me llamo Stephanie Moore y apruebo este mensaje."

Take Aways
- Make sure your message reaches your target audience through radio and social media.
- Make it easy for voters to understand your message. Caption and translate videos.
- Use free software like Lumen5 and iMovie to cut your video production costs.

Deepak
DemLabs

Photo credit: Jon Tyson on Unsplash

DemLabs applies innovative technology and storytelling tools in service of democratic and progressive values. It lowers the barrier of funding for worthy candidates and non-profits by applying existing free/affordable solutions.