SOURCE: Spot Runner

March 26, 2008 08:03 ET

Spot Runner Brings Democracy to Political Election Process

New Political Advertising Program Harnesses Technology to Give Campaigns a Level Playing Field; Now All Campaigns Can Equally Afford to Run High-Quality TV, Radio and Online Ads; Political Luminaries Bill Bradley, Mike Murphy, Dan Schnur and Bob Shrum Join Bi-Partisan Political Advisory Board

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - March 26, 2008) - Spot Runner, a technology-driven advertising services company, today announced the launch of its Political Advertising Program (www.spotrunner.com/political). The program leverages the Internet and new technologies to open the door for candidates and cause-related initiatives to run highly targeted ads on TV, radio and online. The program is the first of its kind and is available to all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, at the local, state and national levels.

"Spot Runner is helping to further democratize the election process by leveling the playing field for all candidates. It's giving every campaign an equal opportunity to broadcast important messages to the most appropriate audiences," said former Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ), a member of Spot Runner's Political Advisory Board. "It's truly ground breaking."

Experienced Internet entrepreneurs Nick Grouf and David Waxman were inspired to create Spot Runner after working on the 2004 presidential campaign.

"We saw firsthand the power of TV to communicate a candidate's message and influence opinions, but we also saw how difficult and expensive it was to produce a campaign. As a result, only the largest, most well-funded campaigns could have access, and we knew we could apply technology to help solve the problem," said Grouf, chairman and CEO of Spot Runner. "Spot Runner's innovative new offering diminishes deep pocket advantages by giving campaigns of all sizes an equal chance to build name recognition and communicate their message across TV, radio and the web."

According to the American Association of Political Consultants, there are more than 500,000 elections held in the U.S. each year. The vast majority of candidates will not be able to hire a media consultant.

Historically, one of the biggest barriers preventing candidates from advertising on TV is the expense of producing an ad. Spot Runner has created an extensive library of pre-produced political commercials that span a variety of issues; each ad is personalized with the campaign's images and messages and a new voiceover. Ads also can be turned around in 24-to-48 hours, allowing campaigns to react immediately to local or competitive issues. For completely customized ads, candidates can provide their own footage or leverage Spot Runner's creative team. Fully customized ads typically run $499-$2,000 (media costs are separate). The most popular categories of ads thus far have been about leadership, education, taxes and get-out-the-vote.

Another barrier to advertising has been the cost of airing an effective campaign. Spot Runner's program enables campaigns to spend their budget more strategically and efficiently by targeting the people they most need to reach. Media plans are created using Spot Runner's proprietary Geo-Voter Targeting process, which combines political district maps with local television targeting opportunities, voter and donor data, and detailed demographic and psychographic data relevant to candidates' campaigns. The resulting media plans narrowly pinpoint the neighborhoods that would be most receptive to a particular message, increasing impact and saving money. The ads are then aired locally, statewide or nationally on popular networks such as CNN, CNBC, Fox News, MSNBC and CBS.

Spot Runner Taps Political Luminaries to Form Bi-Partisan Advisory Board

To help build and deliver the most valuable political campaign solutions, Spot Runner turned to some of the most respected political media strategists representing both major parties for their expertise. In addition to Senator Bradley, Spot Runner's Political Advisory Board includes veteran political strategists Mike Murphy, Dan Schnur and Bob Shrum.

"All candidates and campaigns are concerned with getting the most value for their dollar. With Spot Runner, a candidate can get a professional ad for less than $500 and spend the bulk of their dollars directly on media time," said Republican media consultant Murphy. "It's affordable enough that campaigns can create multiple ads for various voter segments on a diverse range of issues. Or they can cut multiple versions of the same ad, with slightly different angles of the message, and run them in different communities."

"Campaigns often waste a lot of money advertising to people outside of their voting district or who don't fit their profile," said Schnur, a Republican political and media strategist. "Spot Runner's technology can determine specific neighborhoods within districts that have the highest concentration of likely voters, enabling candidates to focus their efforts more strategically."

"Spot Runner's Political Advertising Program gives campaigns the capacity to communicate through mass market media, including TV, radio and online, with low production costs and efficient targeting," said Shrum, a longtime Democratic consultant.

Candidates Find Success with Platform in Recent Elections

Spot Runner has already helped a number of campaigns win their recent elections. One example is Erik Fleming, who ran in the Democratic primary for a U.S. Senate seat in Mississippi. Spot Runner ran Fleming's ad in four broadcast markets in the week leading up to the primary. He won with 65 percent of the vote.

"Originally, we had planned to make one TV ad buy in the general election, but when I learned about Spot Runner, I realized we could advertise in the primaries too. It was tremendously less expensive than I expected," said Fleming. "It raised my level of credibility and gave my supporters a lot of optimism."

Another example is Bob Marshall, a Republican who ran for the Virginia State Legislature and turned to Spot Runner in the midst of a tough race to promote his candidacy. Marshall ran two unique ads, each in a different county. Spot Runner enabled Marshall to micro-target on TV, allowing him to send one message to one neighborhood and a different message to the other.

"It was only the second day that the ad ran, and a gentleman approached me at a retail store. He said, 'You're Bob Marshall!' The man had seen me on TV and thanks to the ad, understood my position on key issues," said Marshall. "At a time when other Republican candidates in my area were losing ground, I increased my margin of victory and handily won my race."

For more information about Spot Runner's Political Advertising Program, go to www.spotrunner.com/political.

About Spot Runner

Headquartered in Los Angeles, Spot Runner is a technology-driven advertising services company that is revolutionizing the way advertising is created, targeted, bought and sold. It is dedicated to maximizing results for advertisers and to driving value for its media partners. Visit Spot Runner online at www.spotrunner.com.

About the Spot Runner Political Advisory Board

Senator Bill Bradley is a managing director of Allen & Company LLC. From 2001-2004, he acted as chief outside advisor to McKinsey & Company's nonprofit practice. He was a senior advisor and vice chairman of the International Council of JP Morgan & Co., Inc. from 1997-1999. During that time, he also worked as an essayist for CBS Evening News and was a visiting professor at Stanford University, University of Notre Dame and the University of Maryland. Senator Bradley served in the U.S. Senate from 1979-1997, representing the state of New Jersey. In 2000, he was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. He currently hosts a radio show called "American Voices" on Sirius Satellite Radio. He has written six books about American society, economy and politics. His latest book is "The New American Story."

Mike Murphy is one of the Republican Party's most successful political media consultants. He has been called a "media master" by Fortune magazine, the GOP's "hottest media consultant" by Newsweek, and the leader of a "new breed" of campaign consultants by Congressional Quarterly Inc. He served as senior political strategist for John McCain, Jeb Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mitt Romney.

Dan Schnur is one of California's leading Republican political and media strategists whose record includes work on four presidential and three gubernatorial campaigns, as well as extensive experience on behalf of a variety of nonprofit organizations and private sector companies. Schnur served as the national director of communications for the 2000 presidential campaign of U.S. Senator John McCain. He has advised a variety of Republican candidates and causes throughout his career, including five years as chief media spokesman for California Governor Pete Wilson.

Bob Shrum was senior advisor to the Kerry-Edwards campaign in 2004. The Atlantic Monthly described him as "the most sought-after consultant in the Democratic Party." He served as a senior advisor to the Gore 2000 Presidential Campaign, to the campaign of Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel and to the British Labour Party in the 2001 and 2005 Parliamentary elections. He was strategist and media advisor for many winning campaigns, including 30 U.S. Senate campaigns, 10 gubernatorial campaigns, numerous Congressional campaigns, including the Speaker and the Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives, and the mayors of Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami-Dade County, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

Contact Information