Would be Toronto mayors reaching new voters with YouTube

In hopes of reaching a younger audience the three leading candidates in Toronto’s race to be mayor are posting campaign videos on YouTube.

“One of the things we found in this election is that for people in the surrounding areas, there’s not a lot of live local debates going on,” said Jared Gardner, spokesperson for Stephen LeDrew. “We wanted to utilize a medium that would allow them to get to our Web site, check out YouTube and get streaming video whenever they wanted.”

David Miller, Jane Pitfield and LeDrew have video campaign postings on YouTube.

Campaigns will be more dynamic as a result of having full multi-media, and You Tube also gives voters greater access to the candidates, according to Gardner.

“Both Google and YouTube are so user-friendly in terms of how you can access the videos on their Web site, and allowing people to post comments, so it really allowed us to have an open dialogue,” he said.

Another widely recognized electronic medium for communicating with Torontonians is blogging.

Miller, Pitfield and LeDrew all have blogs on their sites, reflective of current Canadian interests, according to a recent Environics survey.

The survey revealed that one third of online Canadians are “active social media participants, meaning they have read blogs in the past three months.”

In a recent Toronto Star article, Miller spokesperson Kim Barnhardt said that one of the driving forces of these types of e-campaigns is to appeal to the younger voters.

“We want to have grassroots appeal, and it’s also a way to reach younger people through a new and expanding medium,” she said.

However, Gardner said that it’s not just the younger citizens that are checking out their video posts on the Internet.

“We don’t know the exact demographics of it, but from the people we’re hearing from, it’s not just your typical 18-year-old or those in their early 20s. It’s also people in their 50s and 60s.”

Getting the word out online is just a sign of the times and people are becoming increasingly Net-savvy, according to Gardner.

“I’ve worked on other campaigns before and even in the past several months I think Google Video and YouTube are making even more of their presence known,” he said.

“In the last campaign I was on, we weren’t using them to the same extent because the medium wasn’t as well recognized. It’s amazing how in the past five months it’s really stepping up.”

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