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Republicans Stepping Up Online Video Efforts

Things may be tough for Congressional Republicans these days, with on-again-off-again resignations, unexpected deaths, and poor fundraising totals. But the folks responsible for electing Republicans to the House and Senate are forging forward, and making more use of online videos.

It's no secret that the GOP has lagged behind Democrats in getting the message out online. That may be changing now that the Republican National Committee has hired Cyrus Krohn, a Yahoo veteran brought on to run the GOP's eCampaign department. He recently told The Post, "I'm a firm believer in following the audience. TV is still the 800-pound gorilla, but the reality is, you have about 180 million people online in the U.S., and they're on the Internet at home, in the office, etc. This audience hasn't really been marketed too effectively in the political space," he said.

Separate of Krohn's efforts at the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee are starting to do more with online video.

For example, the NRCC is looking for a witty, effective catch phrase. NRCC new media director Josh Schultz asks supporters to submit slogan ideas on the group's Web site. While Schultz says he's "excited" about the "Your Direction Project," he doesn't exhibit much excitement while promoting the contest. (Of course the folks who work to elect Democrats to the Senate weren't much better in their video last week.)

The NRCC "Slogan Contest" Video:

Meanwhile, the NRSC's "Two Seats. All It Takes" campaign is designed to get reporters' attention, by not flooding e-mail inboxes.

"What we have really been focused on is web video, and all the people we can reach that we typically don't really reach with say, press releases," says NRSC spokeswoman Rebecca Fisher. "We're really using this as a communications strategy, and driving our message through these web ads, so that state press will pick up on these issues," she adds.

The NRSC has taken all of its Web video efforts in-house, by building a studio and hiring video editors, a Web site designer, and bloggers, Fisher says. The in-house team most recently produced a 90-second video targeting Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who is considered the most vulnerable Democratic senator seeking reelection next year. The ad criticizes the senator for voting for, then against giving Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants.

"A change of heart? Or...a politician up for reelection?" the ad asks. "What will Mary's values be next year?"

Expect the NRSC to release a new video each week on Tuesdays, either targeting a specific candidate, or featuring NRSC chairman Sen. John Ensign (Nev.) (Here's an example).

-- Ed O'Keefe

By Ed O'Keefe |  September 7, 2007; 12:02 PM ET Congress
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