Jeremy Kenney is using his technical expertise as a software developer to take aim at one of the most divisive issues in the campaign industry: yard signs.
The current VP of application development at GOP shop Campaign Solutions has created, in conjunction with Push Digital, a digital yard sign — a more accurate description is an augmented reality effect that appears in a user’s photos — that works on Facebook and Instagram.
Could it help end the debate over yard signs’ usefulness once and for all? We asked Kenney for his prediction.
C&E: Is this the death knell for printed yard signs?
Kenney: Actually, no … I’m always trying to come up with innovative ways to try things out, see if they work, see if they don’t work, see if they catch on, and I’ve been trying to do this now for about three years. The only platform that I could pull it off on successfully was on Snap, and I’m probably the oldest guy on Snap, so I figured that’s probably not [the best place for the offering].
So I tried it on Facebook, Instagram, and the tech [had] caught up to the idea. I would say at that point the product was pretty decent. What we’re trying to do now is see if there are clients who would be interested in it.
C&E: Tell us how it works.
Kenney: I was trying to go with a traditional sign [design]. In October here in Virginia, there was a sea of campaign signs. I got in there and I plugged in ours and I was just trying to see if anybody could spot the augmented reality one and they couldn’t. So at that point I knew that I had a pretty good match.
I was trying to explain what [AR] could do. But down the road what we could do is animate it, have it say [something] or go somewhere, maybe like a donation page or a website, something along those lines — if the tech allows.
C&E: What’s the client reaction been so far?
Kenney: They’re really, really excited about it. The key part here is to get a client who is tech friendly as opposed to tech anxious — somebody who can get on board and see the value of it. If we did have a client who was a little bit anxious about this, that would be a pretty tough sell.
C&E: Is the next step yard signs for the metaverse?
Kenney: I could absolutely see that because it’s so available. You can put it anywhere you want. If you’re ever at the pool, you can put it by the pool. If you’re at a football game tailgate, put it right there. It works anywhere you want — there’s no shipping involved.
C&E: So you don’t necessarily see this as the first step toward a future without traditional yard signs?
Kenney: It could. I think if you’re trying to have something outside of your house, kind of long lived, that would be a bit of a different story. So if you’re trying to show your support in the real world, this is probably not the way to go. But for a quick hit, if you’re trying to do a picture on your phone or you’re trying to do a video and then also serve ads with these effects, [this could work.] It’s brand new stuff.