Red Bull’s Latest Campaign Goes Retro With Pac-Man Partnership

Red Bull and Bandai Namco launched a joint Pac-Man campaign on Thursday that is fueled by nostalgia and caffeine. The partnership includes limited-edition cans, branded mazes and other collaborations designed for cross-promotion.

From now until May 1, 2019, consumers can buy specially-marked Pac-Man cans of Red Bull. Fans can then “pop to unlock” one of three Red Bull-themed mazes inside the Pac-Man mobile game. The codes are hidden under the pop tab of the cans, with three codes to collect in all.

Unlocking the Red Bull Pac-Man levels also teaches our yellow friend a new trick for the first time in 40 years. After eating Red Bull cans, Pac-Man can shoot lightning at the ghosts, allowing players to defeat them from a distance for the first time in franchise history. Cherries have been replaced with Red Bull letters on each branded level.

“After nearly 40 consecutive years of chasing ghosts, even Pac-Man sometimes needs a Red Bull,” said Toshihiko Naoe, director of mobile at Bandai Namco Entertainment America in a press release.

Red Bull created a dedicated micro-site that features a digital Pac-Man soundboard. For a limited time, visitors can mix and play with all the iconic sound effects from the game, from ghosts to sirens and the 8-bit melody fans will recognize instantly.

The Red Bull Air Force—a dedicated team of skydivers—created a YouTube video to commemorate the partnership called “Real-Life Pac-Man Goes Skydiving.” Professional skydiver Jon Devore, dressed as Pac-Man, plummets through the air and is pursued by “ghosts.” One by one he defeats them by pulling their shoots before pulling his own, landing safely to chomp another day.

Both Pac-Man and Red Bull made their debuts in the 1980s. Aside from that, the brands did not indicate a particular reason for this partnership—other than it was fun, of course.

CMO Confidence Reflected In Growth Of Innovation Marketing Budgets

Chief marketing officers plan to increase budgets in 2019, prioritizing innovation over new hires and focusing on the link between technology and ROI. According to Gartner’s latest CMO Spend Survey, marketers are growing more confident in technology investments, but with new ventures comes additional pressure to demonstrate business value.

Gartner surveyed 621 North American and UK marketing executives in July and August of 2018. The analyst firm released its initial findings to members on Thursday and will host a webinar with additional data on November 18.

Marketing budgets remain steady, accounting for 11.2 percent of company revenue, compared to 11.3 percent in 2017. Over a quarter of that budget has been allocated to marketing technology in 2018, Gartner observed, a decline from 2016 but increase from last year.

Ewan McIntire, research director for Gartner, observed that one-in-six dollars will be spent on marketing innovation. In fact, 63 percent of CMOs expect marketing budgets to increase in 2019. Despite a growing confidence in new technology, however, CMOs must make sure those funds are spent in the right places.

“Simply putting one-sixth of your budget toward innovation is not enough, said McIntire. “You need to drive a strategically powered innovation program.”

With new technology comes new challenges, as CMOs will undoubtedly feel pressure to demonstrate a business value for such investments. Gartner found that just seven percent of marketers considered ROI to be the most important metric they measure, compared to 12 who said “brand awareness.”

“While ROI is still difficult to measure accurately for many, CMOs must not underplay its strategic importance,” warned Gartner. “Today, brands must commit to delivering robust customer experiences, as well as growth and value to the business, and therefore must elevate the specific metrics that track these efforts.”

Innovation budgets may be up, but labor budgets took a slight hit in the last year. The CMO Spend Survey found that 24 percent of marketing budgets were allocated to the acquisition of talent in 2018, compared to 28 percent last year.

One’s first thought might be to assume that employees are being made obsolete by automation, but Gartner says this may not be the case. Rather, the analysis suggests this shift in marketing spend is the result of “organizations dealing with capabilities, resources and talent in an increasingly complex way.”

Domino’s AR Pizza Chef Turns Visualization Into Ecommerce

Domino’s New Pizza Chef adds augmented reality (AR) to the pizza-customization and ordering process, allowing users to visualize and order virtual pies. The new AR experience launched on Domino’s mobile app this week and continues the brand’s ongoing investment in consumer technology.

Consumers with the Domino’s mobile app can now build and preview a pizza in AR. New Pizza Chef lets users select their crust, cheese and swirls, then drag and drop remove virtual toppings. Certain toppings will trigger animated characters, such as a hula dancing pineapple. Setting the pizza on fire cooks it on the spot.

There are over one billion possible combinations in Domino’s New Pizza Chef, the brand announced. Once they find the desired combination, users can have their AR creations delivered IRL.

It was important to the company, however, that finished products matched the user’s AR creation.

“Making sure each ingredient shown reflects the weight we use in store means that the pizza a customer receives looks the same as the one they created—and that makes for a more satisfied customer,” Domino’s group chief marketing officer Allan Collins said.

This isn’t Domino’s first foray into AR pizza ordering. In April, the brand launched a Snapchat campaign that allowed users to take photos with virtual ‘zas and order delivery without leaving the app.

In fact, Domino’s has traditionally been an early adopter of technology, integrating the latest gadgets into their marketing strategy. Hungry customers have been able to track their pizzas for a decade now. The brand introduced “Dom,” an AI pizza ordering assistant in 2014 and earlier this year, began testing it as a replacement for human phone orders.

Other efforts have included a Facebook chatbot and its AnyWare initiative, which allows users to order a pizza just by texting a pizza emoji.

“Innovations such as the New Pizza Chef with Augmented Reality are important as they help us to continue to drive online sales,” said Domino’s Group chief digital and technology officer Michael Gillespie. “And, with up to two million items sold online in one week, we know it’s important for us to always be making the online ordering experience more seamless, rewarding and memorable for our customers.”

Domino’s CEO J. Patrick Doyle hopes that the brand will become 100 percent digital in the future, so it looks like Gillespie and his team are going to stay busy.

Pandora’s New VP Of Brand Marketing Discusses Latest Campaign

Pandora launched a new campaign called “Sound On” that connects with holiday travelers along each point of their journey. The slogan was chosen as a kind of battle cry, declaring that sound—whether that be music or podcasts—can help make a stressful situation better.

“Sound On” will be featured in high-traffic airports, buses and railroad stations across the country as well as a 250 foot LED billboard at the Oculus transportation hub in NYC. “Sound On” features approximately 1,200 different iterations, developed to coincide with specific travel moments and destinations. Signs are strategically placed to coincide with a particular travel experience such as waiting at baggage claim or dealing with a canceled flight. For example, one sign says,” Lost Luggage? Grin and bear BLARE it.”

“We wanted to make sure that we’re reaching and engaging users in a way that feels very specific to that exact moment that they’re in,” Pandora’s newly appointed VP of brand marketing and communications Brad Minor told AList.

“We took a very focused approach on how we tell a macro story about holiday travel, but then made every single touch point feel like it was very personalized for that moment.”

Users will experience different playlist suggestions depending on where they are located when they open the app. A traveler in Nashville, for example, would find country Christmas music while someone landing in Oakland would be greeted with hip-hop.

Pandora is, by nature, a personalized experience, but it lives exclusively in a digital environment. Rather than meet consumers on its home turf, the in-house creative team devised a campaign that focuses on a common human experience.

“We looked at the landscape and what our competitors are doing across the board,” Lauren Nagel, VP and executive creative director for Pandora. “So many [competitors] are focused on content but we wanted to focus on context.”

Nagel led Pandora’s in-house team on the project and once hired, Minor stepped in to help oversee its launch.

“I think what I really love about the approach that we have here is that we don’t view the creative team as our internal agency,” said Minor. “It’s not an agency-client relationship, it’s a true partnership in every since of the word.”

“Lauren and I, even this short time have an unnaturally warm and friendly relationship and we view both sides of the equation and understand that we are successful together and that we need to figure out these challenges quickly in real-time, we need to be able to iterate on the fly.”

Considering the rising popularity of podcasts—and brands marketing on/with them—Nagel explained that “Sound On,” rather than “Music On” was a more inclusive choice of slogan.

When you have over 71 million listeners, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to a marketing strategy. Nagel and Minor explained that Pandora avoided the “creepiness factor” by telling a universal holiday travel story while gearing messages toward specific moments.

Minor joined Pandora just two weeks ago, but he’s excited about the future of the brand. The key, he says, will be to resonate with consumers in a unique way. Chances are very good that “Sound On” will become the rallying cry of many a future Pandora campaign.

“We’re really focused on changing the conversation to less about the content we have but the context in which you’re receiving that content and how we’re delivering it,” said Minor.

“If you think about this notion of ‘life is better with sound on,’ it literally opens up endless opportunities for us to build campaigns around that. It could be seasonal, a cultural moment in the news, key events like Grammys, etc—all those moments are really fertile ground for us to build campaigns and creative to support and show how those moments are made better with sound on.”

How The Cannabis Industry Is Finding Ways To Market Around Regulation

With the legalization of cannabis in Canada and nine U.S. states, the marijuana industry is wide open, but marketing the product still comes with its problems.

Canada has strict rules on branding—the packaging must be generic and informational with mandatory labels. There are even restrictions on colors.

In California, a state that legalized medicinal marijuana way back in 1996, companies can’t place an ad on TV, print, digital or radio if at least 71.6 percent of the audience is expected to be under 21.

Not only do marketers have to work around state regulations but online platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Google do not allow drug or drug-related ads on their site—unless you can sneak past the censors or offer products ancillary to the cannabis industry.

Despite the hurdles, cannabis marketing has found ways to reach out to OG users familiar with the drug, as well as those new to it—and the secret seems to be “luxury” style branding.

High-End Helps To Expand

“Consumers are tired of being sold products with “dank” and “canna” in the title, and we’re here to alleviate those pains,” said Adrienne Airhart, Ionic’s director of social media.

Ionic prides itself in making small batch luxury cannabis oils and concentrates. The LA-based company sells disposable vaporizers, applicators, wax and cartridges—its bestseller.

Like all of their other accessories, they want quality and prestige, with a side of discretion due to the industry.

“Consumers can see, feel, and taste the quality in our packaging and products, so we keep the pressure on ourselves to constantly set that bar even higher. That’s why we’re known as a luxury cannabis brand, with a broadly-ranging clientele,” said Airhart.

Edibles have also come a long way from the stereotypical homemade pot brownie.

In 2015, Altai came into the California market and it stood out for its sophistication. The cannabis chocolate-maker focuses on having a world-class quality and lets the product speak for itself.

The confectionary company, with its motto “Elevating the Art of Cannabis,” promotes itself through in-store demos and educational marketing.

“Customers shop with their eyes first and tend to assume that the quality found on the outside of a package will carry through to the product inside,” said Alan Kropf, vice president of marketing for INDUS Holding Company, the group behind Altai.

“That said, California has been going through a transition to an adult-use recreational cannabis market that has limited what brands can do with packaging.”

For example, cannabis product packaging must be tamper-evident, child-resistant, resealable (if the product includes more than one use) and it can’t resemble traditionally available food packaging.

Even products that aren’t cannabis, but related to it, are jumping on to the luxury bandwagon.

MJ Arsenal, a cannabis glassware company based in Denver, Colorado, made the original Blunt Bubbler and Joint Bubbler.

“We are 100 percent brand-driven. Brand power is a big part of us,” said Sam Campbell, MJ Arsenal director of marketing. The green fairy on all of their packaging aims to represent their distinguishable products and affordable price.

The products not just strictly seen at brick and mortars, but Instagram influencers are another major component of their visibility.

“There is a grey area when it comes to cannabis on Instagram,” he added. MJ Arsenal uses the platform for giveaways, product announcements and to drive up excitement during special holiday releases.

Although digital advertising can be tricky for cannabis companies, it isn’t totally ditched by some. 

The Foray Into Online Content

“The best way to market is to use really good quality content,” said Brad Bogus, vice president of growth and marketing at Confident Cannabis.

The Palo Alto-based software company created the only lab information management system for the cannabis industry. It’s also the only place where producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers showcase and discover products from verified businesses with test results directly from licensed labs.

One of his plans is to use third-party publishers such as Cannabis Now, Leafly, Now This Weed and Marijuana Moment to promote Confident Cannabis.

They’ve been focused on building apps they are marketing over the last three years and now the company is starting to launch its marketing and advertising strategies.

This month, the company’s CEO Steve Albarran wrote a story for Green Entrepreneur Magazine, an edition of Entrepreneur Magazine centering on cannabis news.

“You have to provide value in the content in order to get to your customers to respond to it. You have to think bigger and broader,” he added.

SEO is a big focus for, a Los Angeles cannabis delivery service.

Almost all of their marketing expenditures are in the digital realm. The online business focuses on creating a brand that is accessible to both long time cannabis consumers and the senior citizen trying it for the first time.

HERB will make personal welcome calls when a new member signs up. They also closely manage their reputation on consumer review sites such as Weedmaps.

“In terms of marketing, we make sure to always reference the plant by its scientific name, cannabis, and never ‘weed’ or ‘marijuana’,” said an HERB spokesperson who wanted to remain anonymous.

“There has been immense growth in the amount of cannabis specific online marketplaces and war is being waged on a daily basis to become the go-to advertising platform for the cannabis space.”

However, cannabis companies can also work with publishers outside the industry. There are opportunities with local news organizations, as well as weekly and national publications.


The Rebranding Of The “Stoner”

Events are a big part of cannabis marketing. Aside from personal face-to-face interaction, it’s an opportunity to show the many layers of the plant and change its “stoner” stigma.

Confident Cannabis supports STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, so they sponsored an event by The Oregon Girls Collaborative intended to educate and increase awareness on getting young women involved in STEM fields.

They also covered the cost of three tickets for women who couldn’t afford a retreat by The Initiative—a Portland-based cannabis industry accelerator program focused on women.

“Seeing cannabis companies support community organizations is huge in showing the heart and passion behind the industry to citizens of the community, particularly those impacted most harshly from the drug war,” said Bogus.

Oregrown, a dispensary based in Bend, Oregon, recognizes the importance of making customers feel comfortable. They sponsor many local, family-friendly events making them well known in the state.

The company places a heavy emphasis on educating its members on the history and science behind cannabis so they become a more informed consumer.

“Going to customers where they are comfortable taking their family is a great way to answer any questions they have on cannabis,” said Chrissy Hader, co-founder and chief brand ambassador of Oregrown.

“We want to show people that you can consume cannabis and be responsible,” said Hader. “We recognize the ‘stoner’ stereotype and we want to change that by showing them not telling them.”

Cannabis Collaborations

Oregrown produced a film called Low Pressure, about Oregon-based snowboarders. They’ve already had a few previews before its digital release this month.

The movie was screened at 10 Barrell Brewing, a local beer company, but the marketing takeover didn’t end there.

Oregrown collaborated with the brewery to make Hazed and Confused, an IPA infused with non-cannabis derived terpenes, the essential oil giving cannabis its distinctive flavor and aroma.

“We try to control how the message is sent and whom it’s being sent to,” said Hadar.

As more states legalize marijuana, it’s not surprising alcohol and weed joined forces. Dude’s Brews, Lagunitas, Point Ybel and Devour Brewing is among the beer makers creating their versions of cannabis-infused ales.

Some brewers have taken it a step further to make CBD and THC-infused beers without the alcohol. Napa Valley start-up Saka Wine made its version of the cannabis-infused drink.

“What the sector lacks are true luxury products targeted to a sophisticated female consumer. That’s what we’re singularly focused on delivering: Infused Luxury by and for Women,” said Saka Wines CEO Tracey Manson in a press release.

With any new creations, lawmakers are getting involved as the cannabis industry grows. In September, California passed a bill that prohibits mixing CBD in cocktails or beverages. Many attorneys suggest keeping the two drugs apart for now.

There are a variety of collaborations popping up and the right ones can create the right buzz as well as go around strict cannabis marketing rules.

MTV, Ad Council Launch Female-Focused IGTV Series For National STEM Day

MTV, Facebook and The Ad Council have launched a weekly video series on IGTV that encourages girls to pursue their interests in STEM.

A new, five-part series called #wcwSTEM (Women Crush Wednesday STEM) debuted on IGTV Wednesday just in time for National STEM Day on November 8. MTV’s weekly program stars Holland Roden (Teen Wolf) as she interviews five female role models in science, technology, engineering and math.

MTV’s cause marketing initiative was created exclusively for Instagram through a Facebook Anthology partnership. The IGTV show will be promoted through donated support from Facebook. #wcwSTEM coincides with The Ad Council’s She Can STEM campaign, which began in September.

The first episode features sound engineer and music producer Alana Da Fonseca as she talks about her role in the music industry. Subsequent episodes will have Roden interviewing Crystal Lee, an environmental civic engineer, Dr. Dijanna Figueroa, a marine biologist and teacher, Amber Hardin, a model and effects designer at Nickelodeon and Diana Trujillo, Robotics Surface Mission Lead for NASA’s Mars 2020 Mission.

#wcwSTEM was produced by an entirely female production crew. It will run on MTV’s IGTV channel throughout November and December.

MTV is no stranger to cause marketing, partnering with Rock the Vote since 1990. When students staged a nationwide walkout to protest school shootouts, MTV turned its broadcast off for 17 minutes to show support.

The Viacom network is appealing to its 12-34-year-old audience with a message of support, especially among young girls. This is especially pertinent on Instagram, where the appearance of perfection is central to its users. Girls may fear that looking like a model is more important than their STEM-related passions—so MTV is assuring them that being smart is cool, too.

MTV is among several brands testing the long-form, vertical video waters of IGTV and female empowerment is definitely on the schedule.

Stella Artois made its debut in September with “The Art of Living,” a series that highlights five artisans—two of which are female—who share their definitions of a life well-lived. Gillette partnered with female directors the same month for an IGTV campaign called “Her Shot” and Mercedes-Benz used the platform to tell its story of how Bertha Benz and the first road trip.

Forrester: Inspired By Nike, CMOs Will Exploit Societal Division In 2019

CMOs will harness customer energy in the coming year, Forrester predicts, using cultural disruption as fuel for short-term growth. In the long-term, however, building a brand with emotional impact will rely on enhanced customer experience (CX) and trust that goes beyond mere provocation.

Forrester has released its CMO predictions for 2019, drawing attention to the trends and challenges that will face marketers in the new year. Disruption will take multiple forms, Forrester predicts, as innovative CMOs create value both real and perceived.

Nike’s provocative Colin Kaepernick ad tapped into existing customer energy to explode into the public conscious. The risk paid off, opening the door to other brands hoping to repeat the performance. While societal division can inspire companies to take a stand, any resulting success may be a flash in the pan.

Forrester predicts that in 2019, CMOs will look to exploit such division for short-term gains, but notes that new long-term growth can be achieved if a large enough audience is motivated. Between this month’s US mid-term elections and the 2020 Presidential campaign trail, brands should have ample fuel.

Tech-fueled disruption, meanwhile, will continue to put pressure on CMOs to innovate on the go. When this happens, Forrester predicts that CMOs will have to galvanize the C-suite around a collective vision—breaking down organizational barriers to deliver on brand promise. “The smart ones” never lose sight of their essential purpose and brand promise, Forrester noted.

Marketers experiencing a downward trend in CX quality will reflect and return to their roots next year and some may go so far as to rebrand completely.

“Driven by an understanding that brand vision and purpose must serve as a base for building and articulating a CX vision, we expect a deluge of companies to undergo brand transformations, which will presage alignment with future CX efforts,” Forrester said.

Customers will remain at the center of all strategies in the coming year, with CMOs assuming the role of an ally for data privacy and trust. To better communicate with audiences, marketing chiefs will shift their focus from marketing tech stacks to consumer tech. Tools, coordination, conversation and emotion will be emphasized to meet consumers where they are—on apps, devices and personal assistants.

Netflix Gives Frank Underwood A Gravestone And Obituary In South Carolina Town

The final season of House of Cards debuted Friday with its main character, President Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) dead and buried. Frank may be gone, but Netflix honored the fictional president with a “real” gravestone and obituary in his hometown of Gaffney, South Carolina.

In September, Netflix teased House of Cards Season Six with Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) addressing Francis while standing over his grave. The marker reads, “Francis J. Underwood 1959-2017, 46th President of the United States.”

Fans of House of Cards can visit the graves of Francis “Frank” Underwood and his father, Calvin Underwood at the Oakland Cemetery in Gaffney, South Carolina. The gravestones, positioned as not to disturb the rest of the cemetery, will remain there for “at least a couple months,” according to Gaffney’s Mayor Jolly.

An obituary for the 46th President of the United States was printed in the Gaffney Ledger, adding to the authenticity. Local retailer Bookshelf Florist and Gifts has been charged with placing white tulips at the grave site every two to three days.

Since the first season, House of Cards Underwood’s fictional link to the real town of Gaffney has yielded an uptick in tourism for the area. A peach-shaped water tower called the Peachoid was a focal plot point in the show’s first season, and fans can view the real-life landmark off I-85.

Netflix has used South Carolina to market previous seasons, as well. In 2016, a campaign office was established in Greenville. Timed with the 2016 US Presidential election, Netflix created a series of campaign ads for Frank Underwood under the hashtag #FU2016. Fans could sport badges for the fictional candidate on Facebook, adding a much-appreciated tone of parody to an otherwise stressful election battle.

Underwood’s character was removed from House of Cards amid sexual allegations against its actor, Kevin Spacey. Netflix continued the show for a final season with Underwood’s wife, Claire assuming the role of US President.

Audi, ‘Departures’ Target Luxury Car Buyers With Responsive Print Ad

Audi of America created an interactive print ad that showcases the lighting features of its 2019 A8 model. The light-up insert targets affluent magazine readers, inviting them to engage with the vehicle using a physical key fob.

Brands primarily seek engagement on digital, but some, like Audi are keen to use an old format in an innovative way. The Departures campaign is being launched at a time when digital advertising spend continues to increase year-over-year, but print has been on a steady decline. In fact, national spending on print advertising dropped 18 percent YoY in July, according to Standard Media Index.

Alongside the November/December issue of Departures, 25,000 targeted readers will be given a faux key fob. Pressing buttons on the fob will simulate locking and unlocking the Audi A8, which has been printed on a special light-up insert.

The virtual Audio A8 responds to a reader’s commands with organic light-emitting diode (OLED) taillights that animate just like the real thing. The lights can then be activated either by closing and reopening the pages or with the key fob.

The Audi ad simulates the physical relationship between driver and car while showcasing a new feature for the Audi A8—responsive lighting.

Departures is a luxury magazine given exclusively to Platinum Discover Card Members. The publication caters to global traveling consumers with an average net worth of $3.5 million. Departures got a redesign earlier this year under editor in chief Jeffries Blackerby, who favors large, bold images more akin to niche fashion magazines.

“The all-new Audi A8 marks the next generation for Audi lighting design, which is why we wanted a thoughtful and tech-forward approach to our print advertising,” Loren Angelo, vice president of marketing for Audi of America said in a statement. “The ad is more than a stunning visual; it’s a limited-edition experience that we hope will intrigue Departures readers and Audi fans who are consistently on the go. We wanted to create something so impactful that it would naturally get those readers’ attention.”

Audi’s light-up campaign is designed to engage consumers in a digital world the same way brick-and-mortar stores still bring crowds. VR and voice commands are neat, but sometimes you just want to hold something in your hands before you buy.

Zenith estimates magazines will only account for 3.8 percent of global ad spend by the year 2020, compared to 5.2 percent in 2017. Mobile internet, meanwhile, is predicted to reach 29.3 percent of global ad spend by 2020.

Search Data Reveals A Battleground Of Political Marketing Spend

Election day is upon us and somewhere, political marketers are waiting to see if their hard work and investments have paid off. Ever wonder how much is spent on political ad search marketing? Search intelligence firm Adthena compiled statistics from Google’s Transparency Report and revealed just how much was spent this year on all the promises, the attacks and the just plain weird in a race to the polls.

According to the latest Google data, political marketers have invested the most funds in California and Florida since May, spending $6.8 million and $4.9 million, respectively. The battle for voters is especially heated in Missouri ($4.1 million), Tennessee ($3.9 million) and Arizona ($3.6 million).

Missouri’s tops the list in terms of ad spend by congressional district—pouring a whopping $1,173,200 into the state ahead of the US midterm elections.

Republicans Make It Rain On Ad Spend

Groups backing Republican candidates spend 1.6 times on Google than their equivalent Democrat-supporting counterparts, Google reported.

Topping the list of heavy spenders, Senate Leadership Fund (R) poured $4.6 million into Google ads and dramatically increased its weekly spending in September and October. By comparison, the highest-spending Democrat interest group, Priorities USA Action and SMP, dished out a total of $3.1 million and steadily increased its spending over the last two months instead of all at once.

An ongoing campaign by Trump Make America Great Again Committee has garnered $1.63 million in political advertiser spend. These ads ask voters to take a survey or sign petitions that demand a wall on the US-Mexico border.

O’Rourke Vs. Cruz: Battle Of The Keywords

Despite considerably more ad spend by the Republican party, the hottest keyword term is “Democrat.” US Representative Beto O’Rourke is running for Senate in Texas against Republican Ted Cruz. The keyword phrase “beto o rourke” has driven the greatest ad spend, with over $2.2 million between May and November. Weekly ad spend for his name reached a weekly high of $464,600 by October 29. Cruz, on the other hand, fetched a weekly high of $122,600 by the same date.

“Beto for Texas” text ads have been viewed up to four million times over the same amount of months.

Both candidate names are driving considerable ad dollars when used as a keyword search term, with $400,000 for “ted cruz” and $300,000 for “beto.”

While Beto has launched a mostly text-based political ad campaign, Cruz has opted for a video-based approach.

Political Ads Get Weird

TV ads are a given, but politicians turned to YouTube and other digital outlets in an attempt to reach more voters, especially the younger ones. This year, voters have had to endure the usual onslaught of attack ads, but the 2018 US midterms have yielded some . . . interesting campaign messages. Just take a look at this mashup from Vice News.