How to Win A Political Campaign with Just $30

no on prop 16This time, Goliath is 1 million times taller than David, and David’s sling is Youtube.

“1 Million Strong Against Prop 16 with 1 Millionth the Budget of PG&E” is launching a quirky street-interview video campaign May 18, betting their thirty-dollar budget that social media can beat the thirty-million-dollar mainstream media campaign by the corporate giant Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E).

“Money has always bought exclusive access to one-way communication voters,” says Ben Zolno, the host, editor and leader of the social media campaign, “but with net neutrality and social networking, we all have a level playing field, where we can start a real conversation.”

PG&E introduced Prop 16, the New Two-Thirds Requirement for Local Public Electricity Providers Act on the June 8 ballot, and since then the energy company has dipped liberally into its coffers, using television, radio and direct mail to tell Californians they must vote for a constitutional amendment that would make it highly unlikely local communities will be able to provide competition to any current power provider.

Organizing in early April, the small group of concerned citizens knew there was no way all of the No On Prop 16 groups combined could come up with even a tenth of the money PG&E had available from the rate payers.  So, instead of trying to match the look of PG&E’s campaign to fight fire with fire, Zolno says they took an approach of, “that blinding bonfire’s too full of hot air… come over here for a cool, refreshing cup of conversation.”

In their videos, you will see Zolno lampooning PG&E, bombarding people on the street with contradictory information on Prop 16, then engaging people on the street until they decide how they’re going to vote.  The end of the videos end with not just an urging to vote no on Prop 16, but to continue the conversation online.

“Instead of getting a 30-second corporate sound bite that ends by telling voters what to do, we have a tight, two-minute real person-to-person start to a real-world conversation.”

They have made nine films in total, releasing them over time until June 8, including a mash-up video that they’ll be pushing for the May 18th launch.

You can find and discuss films on their site, http://noonprop16.blogspot.com/
As well as on

Published by the LA Progressive on May 18, 2010
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