Election 2012

Romney Corp’s Targeted Advertising Campaign

I can't say this is shocking, but it is very telling.

Romney's fundraising success isn't only due to rich white people's love for him. The Romney campaign is also engaging in the kind of target advertising that corporations use to sell you new products.

According to the Associated Press, the Romney campaign is employing a data-mining firm, formerly associated with Bain, that analyzes consumer data, purchase history, and church attendance to target new donors.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mitt Romney's success in raising hundreds of millions of dollars in the costliest presidential race ever can be traced in part to a secretive data-mining project that sifts through Americans' personal information — including their purchasing history and church attendance — to identify new and likely, wealthy donors, The Associated Press has learned.

For the data-mining project, the Republican candidate has quietly employed since at least June a little-known but successful analytics firm that previously performed marketing work for a colleague tied to Bain & Co., the management-consulting firm that Romney once led.

The head of Buxton Co. of Fort Worth, Texas, chief executive Tom Buxton, confirmed to the AP his company's efforts to help Romney identify rich and previously untapped Republican donors across the country. The Romney campaign declined to discuss on the record its work with Buxton or the project's overall success. [...]

The project relies upon a sophisticated analysis by powerful computers of thousands of commercially available, expensive databases that are lawfully bought and sold behind the scenes by corporations, including details about credit accounts, families and children, voter registrations, charitable contributions, property tax records and survey responses. It combines marketing data with what is known in this specialized industry as psychographic information about Americans.

Ordinarily this kind of technology is used to sell you hair color, toothpaste, fancy mattresses, or insurance plans. Companies may use this kind of data to determine where they will build the next Chick-Fil-A, for example.

In this case, it's being used to sell you tax cuts and minority suppression.

Team Romney is a corporation in the making. A product to be marketed. And this kind of cynical, targeted, calculated campaign, aimed at persuading a specific audience to buy his policy agenda at the expense of their neighbors and fellow citizens, is perhaps dirtier at face value than his rhetoric is.

He smiles at the American public and decries "division" while privately selling division. He's selling the knife you will use to stab your less-privileged neighbors in the back.

  • Chris Andersen

    I have no problems with this. I work at a company that does data mining. It’s used all the time in various endeavors. It’s been used in politics for years.

    • JMAshby

      Not on this scale and for this purpose, no it hasn’t. And I’m not criticizing data-mining firms.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.gunn David Gunn

    Come on Ashby, datamining is not some secretive evil conspiracy. Facebook does it, Randall’s, Safeway, Costco & Target do it, and the Obama campaign is GREAT at it. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0612/77213.html. I’m not trying to play the false equivalency game here, I’m just pointing out that datamining is a widely accepted practice now, and any campaign manager or marketing director should be using it.

    • JMAshby

      You missed the point entirely. This is a presidential election, not a capital venture. The Romney campaign is being run like a corporate operation.

      And no, the Obama campaign does not use these methods. They are not analyzing purchase history and church attendance. The Obama’s campaigns advantage is thanks to the massive ground game it ran in 2008. It has a huge database of registered supporters.

      I never said data-mining was an evil conspiracy either. You kind reiterated what I said. Corporations use it.

      • mrbrink

        “It combines marketing data with what is known in this specialized industry as psychographic information about Americans.”

        Psychographic information

        To Obama: “Hey! can you pitch in $3 bucks?”

        To Mitt Romney: If you vote for Obama you have failed as a man, as an American, and you are a pervert who masturbates way too often for God’s liking. The fact that you are poor should shame you as much as it shames me to tell you that this election is all about your guilty conscience and the betrayal of your white culture and heritage.