Backers of the $5.5 billion measure to save California's stem cell research program launched a major social media effort this week, declaring that they could not afford to compete with "the big money campaigns for significant airtime."
The campaign organization behind Proposition 14, the stem cell ballot initiative, sent out an email pitch recruiting sympathizers to help out via Facebook, Twitter, email, and other Internet avenues. The campaign email went to those on the mailing list of the campaign organization, which likely contains thousands of names. The numbers could be much, much larger if the campaign is purchasing email lists.
The campaign email (see below) said,
"There are only 35 days left before election day, and mail-in ballots are already out in many California counties. We need your help to get the word out about Prop 14 and the fight to save stem cell research, treatments and cures in California! With a crowded election we will need to work hard break through the noise and urge Californians to vote “YES” on Prop 14.
"Leading up to the election, we’ll be sending you sample social media posts, newsletter articles and email blasts – and all we need you to do is share what we send with your channels! We are a patient advocate driven movement, so we don’t have the resources to compete with the big money campaigns for significant airtime, and our path to victory relies on the help of other passionate patient advocates like you. Your efforts will make all the difference, and with mail-in ballots already out it is absolutely critical that this work starts today."
The pitch included canned texts for use in emails to general audiences and non-profit organizations. Canned messages to be used on Facebook and Twitter were provided along with appropriate hashtags for Twitter. A "sample email blast" emphasized that "the federal government WILL NOT save most of the promising research and therapies in development that would be abandoned if Prop. 14 fails."
Social media campaigns are increasingly important in political and ballot measure campaigns, regardless of whether a campaign can afford traditional TV advertising. Such advertising is less useful in generating support for a number of reasons, including segmentation of media consumption.
So far, no significant, major opposition has surfaced against Proposition 14.
The campaign for the measure is led by Robert Klein, who sponsored Proposition 14 and is responsible for the writing of the 17,000-word measure. Klein also wrote the 10,000-word, 2004 ballot measure that created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), as the agency is officially known. Klein is a Palo Alto, Ca., real estate developer.
Klein hired FionaHutton &Associates of Studio City, Ca., to handle the bulk of the campaign work.