Presidential Launch Series: Gillibrand & Castro

 In Presidential Launch Blog Series

Although the Iowa caucuses are a little under a year away (with the general election even further away), several Democrats are already launching campaigns to take on Donald Trump in 2020.  Join us on this series as we talk through the strengths and weaknesses of each digital campaign launch. Next in the series is Senator Kirsten Gillibrand & Former U.S. Secretary of HUD Julián Castro.


Kristen Gillibrand:

Amy: Interesting that she uses the same picture across the ads.

Evelyn: With different issues, yeah. Citizens United. Fossil fuel.

Amy: A lot of these current officeholders are trying to show every single thing that they’ve done.

Mariel: Yeah, I like that it shows the issue/what they’ve done. Just touting their resume. I liked the video. It felt very narrative-heavy, but it wasn’t her a lot. It was like, “This is her,” not, “This is me.”

Evelyn: Yeah, that’s my criticism of it. I get what they’re doing…”I’m not going to sing my own praises,” but let the headlines talk about how great I am. I still don’t really know her story.

Amy: The video only talked about her Senate career, which is fine. She has two years, so we’ll probably learn, but interesting that she didn’t start by introducing herself and her family, like, “Here’s some old pictures!” She’s also really leaning in on the ‘Mom’ thing. It was the first thing they show in the video. I wonder if she just wanted to really corner that market or something — saying “This is my brand.” I like the fact that they made fun of the fact that no one knows what her name is.

Evelyn: I like the mix of first person and third person in her ads. I think that’s really a nice mix.

Sara: Hers are consistent too, which I like.

Evelyn: She’s already using some nice gifs.

Amy: Wow, she’s really hitting Trump with these.

Sara: Doesn’t she have the best voting record against Trump?

Mariel: She’s voted against him the most of anyone.

Evelyn: She’s also really good at selfie videos. Very natural. They work really well for her.

Amy: I feel like she hits the midwestern mom vibe really well even though she’s not a midwesterner.

Evelyn: I liked this ad that she must’ve filmed right after walking off ‘The Colbert Show.’ So natural.

Sara: Yeah, I like those.

Evelyn: I think her creative isn’t super exciting, but nicely consistent. Final thoughts?

Mariel: I think she’s solid. The brand is a little meh.

Sara: I’m kind of disappointed by her brand. I think it could be stronger.

Amy: Right, this could be anyone’s brand.


JuliÁn Castro:

Evelyn: It’s interesting that he’s not running donate ads on Facebook.

Mariel: The font is nice.

Amy: I feel like his creative is really good.

Evelyn: He didn’t have any lead ads around his launch–all of his sign-on lead ads are issue based.

Mariel: Seems like his launch was a little spotty.

Evelyn: Soft, yeah.

Mariel: It doesn’t seem like it was as coordinated as it could’ve been.

Amy: And he was an early-launcher, yes? Interesting.

Sara: I do like the, “Where I come from, we’re not born frontrunners. We’re fighters.”

Amy: He definitely has an inspirational message.

Evelyn: I think the hashtags, especially in Facebook ads, are weird. I do like that he’s using the “I’m In” button on his graphics, I think that’s nice. I wish he kept that consistent on all of his lead ads.

Amy: Interesting that he’s definitely going issue-based.

Sara: Yeah, and I feel like when you don’t have name ID, issue-based ads are the best way to go.

Evelyn: It seems like a big oversight to me that he’s not running donate ads. If you have no funding mechanism at scale (which he doesn’t because he hasn’t held statewide or national office before), donate ads are such a great way to collect small donations. And he has a lot to offer. I think he could have a lot of overlap in support with someone like Kamala Harris.

Sara: I agree. Especially if he did videos. He is doing emails and will say they’re just…okay. Kind of a bummer.

Evelyn: Yeah, yeah. Final thoughts on Julián Castro?

Mariel: I like him! I don’t feel like I know him very well.

Amy: I just signed up for his email list and his ActBlue page is in the first person. It’s a little message about chipping in and then it says Julián Castro. A little different. Interesting.

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