Business, Community & Government

Getting Your Message Out

David Axelrod and Karl Rove

Lesson time 08:02 min

Karl and David analyze the ever-changing media landscape and teach their most effective ways to use television and the internet to disseminate your candidate’s message.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: The Importance of the Candidate Website


One of the things about politics is it's changing rapidly, and it's always been changing. Think about how much politics has changed in the last, say, 10 or 15 years with the emergence of social media. Well, imagine what it was like in the early 1950s when television began to be used. Think about what was in the 1920s and '30s when radio suddenly appeared on the scene. So we've been constantly going through new technology and new ways of our society being organized. And as a result, politics, which is an expression of society writ large, has constantly been changed. - There is a growing array of ways to communicate with voters in the modern era. And certainly social media has revolutionized communications in some ways. It is still true that the nuclear weapon of politics is television. It costs more to reach people because viewing habits are diffuse. But you can reach people on a broad-gauge basis through TV like no other vehicle. - I think David's right about television in particular. In most campaigns for governor, senator, president, even a lot of congressional races, it's the most powerful means of communication. But the amount of money being spent on it in smart campaigns is declining. I've been involved in a Super PAC since 2010. And in 2010, we spent maybe 5% of our budget on digital. We're now spending 20% or 25% of our budget on digital. So you take into combination the other mail and cable and network TV and radio, and you'll see that those are-- particularly network TV-- declining. The interesting thing to me is that the things that make digital advertising so powerful can also be applied to television. And the tools are now becoming available. That is to say we can microtarget your television. Because underneath most everybody's TV set is a computer keeping track of what you watch. It's called your cable box. And that data is now being monetized by a lot of cable companies. So you can literally take that data of what is being watched, overlay your microtargeted voter file your target, who are you trying to reach, and literally start to buy television on the basis not of just broad demographics, but on the basis of individual viewing habits. So for example, we began to do this in 2014, and we found-- the old saw used to be you got to buy 1,000 gross rating points a television to drive an ad home. And what we found is, if we took the microtargeting data and redid the television based not just on what we thought people watched but what they actually watched, that it dropped the cost of television-- [INTERPOSING VOICES] - Yeah, well, this was the great inspiration of the Obama campaign in 2012. We hired 54 analytics people in that campaign. We gave the profile of the kind of voters we wanted to reach, because we had analytics that said, these are the targets in each market that are going to make the difference. So the result of it was we were on 64, I believe, cable networks. But Mitt Romney's campaign w...

About the Instructor

David Axelrod and Karl Rove reach across the aisle to offer an inside look at winning campaign strategies. The respective architects of Barack Obama’s and George W. Bush’s historic election victories teach how to develop a campaign platform and reach an audience with consistent messaging. Find the inspiration and tools to get involved at any level, or simply become a more informed, engaged citizen.

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David Axelrod and Karl Rove

Renowned presidential campaign strategists David Axelrod and Karl Rove reveal what goes into effective political strategy and messaging.

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