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Beat Back The Blue Wave –

How Congressman Roger Williams Kept Texas Red

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Background:

INCUMBENT:

Roger Williams (Republican TX-25)

VS.

CHALLENGER:

Julie Oliver (Democrat, Austin City Council Member)

Go Big Media was tasked by Team Roger Williams with developing a comprehensive digital and traditional media campaign to win his 2020 general election campaign.

Challenge:

01

Texas Congressman Williams was targeted by the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee for defeat in the 2020 election cycle. His opponent was a full time grassroots candidate in the mold of Beto O'rourke with an ability to raise money. In fact she raised and spent over $1 million.

02

National and local democrats were motivated, organized and were flooding millions of dollars into Texas to finally turn Texas blue. What made things worse for Roger Williams was that his District includes a large part of heavily blue Austin, Texas. This made him a prime target in 2020. Roger Williams only received 34% of the vote there 2 years earlier.

03

With the pandemic, a negative national wave and national democrat money machine pouring millions into Texas Roger Williams faced the toughest election of his career.

Strategy:

REACTING TO THE PANDEMIC

Knowing that the pandemic would confine people to staying at home, we decided to utilize this time by engaging with voters 1:1

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UNDERMINING "PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS" ATTACKS

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Because we knew that democrats would attack early on voting against giving healthcare to those with pre-existing conditions, we knew we would have to combat with a personal message

BOOSTING APPROVAL RATINGS IN AUSTIN

We knew that Roger Williams previously had only won 34% of the vote in Austin, TX so we would need to target people with positive ads to boost his approval ratings

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WEAKEN JULIE OLIVER'S IMAGE

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Finally we needed to define Julie Oliver in a negative but memorable way to make her unacceptable to Austin Voters

Execution:

April 2020 - Reacting to the Pandemic

  • Peer-to-peer texting was a massive component of the campaign and it started when the Pandemic hit

  • We knew that people were at home and online, so we kicked off the campaign with a 6-figure effort to deploy an online survey, gauge voter sentiment on their top-of-mind issues, and acquire their contact information

  • Going forward, this allowed us to communicate 1:1 with engaged voters, highlighting the efforts Roger was taking to help his constituents during the pandemic and speak directly to their top-of-mind issues.

  • It also meant an early start in communicating with voters at a time when the early voting window in Texas was moved up a week due to the pandemic

July 2020 - One Step Ahead...Undermining the Coming "Pre-Existing Conditions" Attack

  • Nationally and in most congressional districts in Texas the democrats were attacking republicans early and often on voting against giving healthcare to those with pre-existing conditions.

  • We knew this was coming, so we shot an ad with Roger talking direct-to-camera about his own pre-existing condition as a cancer survivor and immediately got the ad in front of voters on TV, Pre-Roll, Mail, and Radio.

  • This was extremely effective in taking the wind out of Julie's attack ad when it was launched months later in September 2020

September 2020 - The Austin Strategy

  • No surprise that Austin, TX leans heavily democrat and Roger only won 34% of the vote there in 2018.

  • To combat Roger's poor image with voters in Austin, we ran two positive ads here.

  • One ad highlighting support for law enforcement using a mother talking direct-to-camera about standing up for law enforcement and safe communities.

  • Another ad telling the story of how Roger helped local kids get back home from a mission trip to Honduras after Coronavirus-related shutdowns were blocking their entry back into the country.

  • These ads also ran on TV and Pre-roll, but with a heavy emphasis on digital radio.

  • Also, we wanted to target key audiences in Austin such as suburban moms and that is where using high quality data for targeting online played a pivotal role.

  • Roger's percentage of the vote in 2020 increased by two points in this heavily blue district where an unpopular DJT was at the top of the ticket.

October 2020 - Defining Julie Oliver

 

  • As the final nail in the coffin, we defined Julie in a negative but memorable way to make her unacceptable to Austin Voters who weren’t hardcore democrats.

  • We ran seven high performing and quick hitting attack ads online tackling various issues.

 

  • But the one that had the most impact was our "Julie Oliver, the Job Demolisher" TV ad.  We knew this ad struck a chord because Julie herself dressed up as the Job Demolisher for Halloween, and she tweeted it!

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Results:

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VICTORY!

Roger Williams not only won a tough race but had the largest margin of victory

14 POINTS

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GBM's aggressive strategy and creative messaging meant that we were controlling the narrative

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AT EVERY STEP OF THE WAY

which led to a stress-free Election Night for our client!