Getting Votes Through Novelas & Other Signs of Potentially Savvy Online Outreach

Posted on December 27, 2007. Filed under: My Musings | Tags: , , , , , , , |

I can’t believe I missed this! Barack Obama supporters have been going after California Latino voters through mini online Spanish language novelas.

The mini-novelas are called Tu Voz, Tu Voto and were part of the “Como Se Dice…Como Se Llama (Obama, Obama)” media campaign that was launched by Nueva Vista Media in June of ’07. The campaign featured a website (Amigos de Obama) and reggaetón song.

– via Boston Globe

Tu Voz, Tu Voto is also being promoted and supported by Vote Hope California. In addition to hosting the series, they created a YouTube channel that contains the short political films inspired by the wildly popular telenovela genre of Latin American soap operas. The three-episode series, in English and Spanish, follow the journey of the Ortiz family and their burgeoning support for Presidential candidate Barack Obama. – via vivirlatino

The Amigos de Obama site doesn’t provide links to the videos beyond a single video promo, so it’s clear that Vote Hope is the responsible entity in terms of promotion and outreach for the series. The point of the videos seem to be that Latino voters need to focus on registering to vote and picking the correct candidate (Obama) in addition to marching for causes. I think the concept behind the series is really clever but after all the work involved, are people even watching the videos?

La Marcha (Episode 1: Tu Voz, Tu Voto) was added on YouTube on November 12th.

Since then, it has only been viewed 684 times (last check). The 5 sites linking to the video are all Vote Hope URLs. I wish that YouTube also displayed snag counts, because I discovered this video as an embed on a blog.

What did the 684 people think about the videos? No one has commented, yet.

In contrast, over 20 thousand people have viewed Vote Hope’s most recent video featuring Common that was posted around the same time. It was linked to from several hiphop blogs and other sites. Obviously a video starring a name celebrity like Common is going to get more attention than a 3 part novela series targeted at Spanish speaking Latinos starring no name talent.

Clearly Vote Hope has some pull to get Common involved with their organization. So, what about the Novela series? The Hispanic vote is huge, giganto, enormous, and would be even bigger if even more of my peeps bothered to register. If the goal of the novela series is to effect change among Spanish speaking Latinos, there is still plenty of time to reach them. The point of this entry is not to identify holes in Vote Hope’s online outreach strategy for the series, but instead to use it as a case study for options in reaching your niche target audience through different partnerships.

If You Build It, They May Still Not Come So Take It To Their Houses

Some communication strategy ideas to reach Latino eyeballs and create some change…

~ Nueva Vista Media should have created an Amigos de Obama MySpace page that featured the videos. They can still do it, and should. Once created, it would be nice if they could get the Amigos de Obama profile in Obama’s top 8. He has everyone in there now. ..I am a little confused why this hasn’t happened already. The Amigos site launched back in May, and with it’s emphasis on music and young people (see Wonkette coverage here) I don’t get why this wasn’t part of their plan.

~ Partner with a progressive Spanish channel like V-Me and get these episodes aired as part of a feature on Latino grassroots election campaign coverage. Allow the videos to be accessed through the V-Me website as well as their online news source, Terra.

As far as I can tell, Terra hasn’t yet picked up on the Tu Voz, Tu Voto series. That’s pretty bad.

~ The videos are supposedly available on Univision’s website, but I can’t find them. Make them easier to find and get a feature on air that goes behind the scenes with Vote Hope.

~ Get the episodes screened as part of the NY International Latino Film Festival’s short program as well as accesible through their related site, cinedulce. (think beyond California)

~ Vote Hope’s MySpace page should provide a link to the videos as well as embeds. Currently they only have 299 friends, but every little bit helps.

~ Make Tu Voz, Tu Voto a featured profile on migente.com

~ Create a contest for young people to make their own series episodes. The three are ok on their own, but will quickly become less relevant and interesting when election time rolls around. Keep the concept fresh by giving access to student filmmakers/video makers. Partner with some sweet youth oriented sites like the very YouTube you are using to host your videos to establish the contest, and get the contest page featured on the YouTube main page.

These are just some examples of how Vote Hope could draw more attention to Tu Voz, Tu Voto. I’ve already watched the three videos several times and even I am now kind of bored by them. Without proper context and the ability to allow community interaction, no one is going to remember these.

Amigos de Obama is inspired by Barack Obama, but not funded by the Obama for America Presidential Campaign. Relatedly, Vote Hope is also not funded by the Obama Campaign. Normally, federal law prohibits political action committees, or PACs, from spending more than $5,000 in support of a candidate. But since Vote Hope’s founders argue that this restriction doesn’t apply to them since they don’t coordinate their spending with Obama’s campaign, there’s no limit to what they can spend promoting him (via Boston Globe).

This may be a factor in why the Tu Voz, Tu Voto series is not currently promoted on Obama’s official site, but I don’t see what the problem is in having a campaign hub area that lists all positive independent campaign efforts by supportive organizations. It seems a shame that the Barack TV En Espanol page doesn’t offer the series… It also really bugs me that there isn’t a search option on barackobama.com’s main page.

More info here: HispanicTips

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One Response to “Getting Votes Through Novelas & Other Signs of Potentially Savvy Online Outreach”

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What a good read! Thanks, excited to share this with my readers and read more of your writing in the future.


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