The way to reach D.C. influencers is through their hearts. Or at least their dating habits.
That’s the bet being made by Programming Corporation of America, a digital content network offering local programming in a dozen states.
Until recently, PCA had been focused on the early primary states and competitive battlegrounds where its programming like “Barefoot and Alone,” “99 Counties” and “Swimming Hole Secrets” offered some premium pre-roll inventory for PACs and campaigns like Bernie Sanders’ presidential.
Their model had been to create content that would appeal to certain demographics that political marketers wanted to reach. For instance, in Washington State PCA created “Game On: Love,” a dating advice series, to reach an audience of young voters that the Sanders campaign, an early client, coveted.
“They tell us the people they want to reach and then we figure out what to do about it,” said Daniel Beckmann, founder and CEO of PCA. “This isn’t product placement. It’s just something where you can run an ad before and people will want to sit through the ad to see it.”
PCA’s buy-direct, pre-roll inventory is available for low-to-mid five figures, but requires a minimum spend. “They [clients] can know contextually that their ad is running next to a specific show, which you can’t get with programmatic,” he said.
After expanding it’s slate of programming to a dozen states over the past year, PCA recently set its sights on the D.C. market. After the dating-show concept proved itself in Washington State, Julie Germany, chief strategy officer for PCA, had the idea of replicating that with the District’s young professionals.
“It came from my experience working with Millennials on the advocacy side of things,” said Germany.
Most young D.C. professionals look like they’ve just walked out of an Ann Taylor or Brooks Brothers store, she said. “They were clueless on dating so we wanted to do something to help them.”
In the web series, “DC – Politicos on Love,” real District residents share their dating experiences direct-to-camera. The subjects were initially recruited through Germany’s network, but the producers have since had volunteers come forward and offer to participate. Episodes will post once a week through December.
One of the most surprising revelations from D.C. singles? The Cato Institute offers advice on how to find your best mate. “I don’t think that happens anywhere else,” said Beckmann.
Now, PCA is just one of a several new digital ad options available for campaigns with smaller budgets this cycle. For instance, Revolution Messaging in August launched Revere Exchange, which offers clients the “same type of targeted social media advertising to down ballot campaigns operating with limited staff and budgets” that Sanders used.
“These are the decision makers,” Beckmann said of his viewers. “They are who you want to influence.”