De Blasio’s 21st Century Campaign

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De Blasio Campaign Pulls NYC Politics into the 21st Century

A shot was heard around the New York political world this year when Bill De Blasio pulled off a decisive Primary win and a landslide General Election victory for Mayor of New York City.

The 21st century has finally dawned in New York City. Politics and political campaigns here may never be the same again.

It was a seismic shift in the political landscape of New York and many barrels of ink, both literal and virtual, were spilt on it. But there was one important development that while mentioned, did not get nearly enough attention: the giant step into the 21st century effected by the campaign itself.

Surprisingly, even in this day and age, there is still a small (and ever dwindling) number of political folk who just don’t believe that online campaigning works. One campaign this season however, didn’t just believe it, they banked on it.

The de Blasio campaign, in order to save money and utilize resources where they would be the most effective, elected not to do any political mailers at all and instead went with an online approach combined with television ads. The now legendary “Dante” ad was released to television and online, quickly amassing well over 100,000 views on YouTube, and the rest, as they say, is history.

And political campaigns in New York City may never be the same again.

Kudos to the de Blasio team for realizing what many have suspected for several years now: direct mail ie. paper mailings, ie. “snail mail” doesn’t work quite as well as it used to. People are simply not getting their information that way as much, anymore. In fact, 50% of Americans now cite the internet as a main source for news (Pew). The number is much higher for younger Americans 18-29, at 71% (Pew).  Add to this the fact that the good old U.S. Postal service no longer delivers in 1-2 day’s time and you have a very good argument for using an online approach especially for rapid response messaging, and particularly in the last week of a campaign.

Of course, in a perfect world you’d have both targeted mailings where they can be effective AND a targeted online approach. Certain demographics can still be reached more effectively with traditional mail pieces —  no one who knows what they are talking about would dispute this. But there is no getting around the fact that the world has changed. Online information distribution and communication is growing at a stunning rate.

One thing is for certain: The 21st century has finally dawned in New York City politics, and campaigns here may never be the same again.

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