David All: “Flooding the Zone” and Other Online Video Tactics

Republican strategist David All, who seems to write approximately 25 hours per day, put out an online political video manifesto yesterday which has in turn generated a fair amount of discussion. David has five recommendations for political campaigns, which he hopes will benefit Republicans but from which every online activist can learn (i.e., no secrets on the Internets). David’s five-point plan for world domination:

  • Two-camera strategy at all times. Train one camera on your opponent, and the other on your own candidate. Why track your own guy or gal? To spot “Macaca” moments as they happen, for starters, and also to have the raw material for rapid response if you need to shape a story.
  • Watch the footage. Archive well. You can’t make good video if you don’t know what raw material you have to work with or (worse) can’t find what you know you have.
  • Monitor opponent’s channel/organic search results. You’d better be keeping track of what the other side’s up to — the faster you can respond, the better off you’ll be. In politics, just as in air combat, speed is life.
  • Prepare known hit responses early/”flood the zone.” To “flood the zone” (phrase I first heard Joe Trippi use in a political context last week), you upload lots of video clips tagged with similar information as a clip you’re trying to bury, attempting to direct people to your clip rather than the one you’d rather they not see. This section of David’s article has gotten by far the most discussion online, with a lively exchange of comments on his site and on the Times’s Caucus blog. Some commenters (among them Todd Zeigler and Justin Hamilton) have doubted this tactic’s effectiveness, while others have questioned its morality (like that matters much in electoral politics…).
  • Create several different official campaign YouTube accounts. “The strength of having different channels is that campaigns will — for the first time — be thinking less about their top-down tactics and will be thinking first and foremost about me — the consumer. They’ll actually understand how we — the YouTube community operates and grows: trust that what we see and say we want (by subscribing) is what we’ll continue to get.”

Be sure to check out the comments on David’s orginal story and on the article in The Caucus. Still hungry? More about creating good online political video.


Written by
Colin Delany
View all articles