Readers of Sunday newspapers in the key swing states of Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Florida, and Virginia will see a glossy, 12-page color magazine–or “MittZine”–insert that highlights Mitt Romney’s personal side, including how he once helped save a co-worker’s daughter who was kidnapped. The insert profiles Paul Ryan as well.
The Ending Spending Action Fund Super PAC, hoping that old print newspapers can be 2012’s “new” media, spent more than $1 million to put the 4.5 million copies of the “MittZine,” which can be seen here, into influential newspapers like the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Des Moines Register, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer to appeal to independent voters and older Reagan Democrats, two groups to which the Super PAC has effectively appealed in innovative ways this election season.
Brian Baker, president of the Ending Spending Action Fund, which TD Ameritrade co-founder Joe Ricketts started to focus on the country’s spiraling debt, told Breitbart News that the MittZine will appeal to independent voters whose primary focus this election is on the economy and debt.
“Poll after poll shows that voters trust Governor Romney on the two key issues facing America: jobs and who will tame the deficit,” Baker told Breitbart News. “So, voters know in their heads who should be the next President; once they read the MittZine, they will know that in their hearts, too.”
Will Feltus, a senior Vice President at the innovative firm National Media, put together the “MittZine” and told Breitbart News the magazine would be more effective than direct mail advertisements because it would more likely find its way onto the coffee table and have a higher probability of being read.
“An voter who hasn’t completely made up their mind and is still looking for information, isn’t going to take this thing out of the newspaper they paid for without at least seeing what it is,” Feltus told Breitbart News. “We wrote it so they’ll at least look though it and see if anything is worth spending time with before they throw it away.”
According to information Feltus shared with Breitbart News, research from Scarborough Research found that “old-fashioned newspapers represent an undervalued political advertising opportunity” because “newspaper readers are more likely to vote than users of other media.”
The annual survey of over 200,000 adults nationally found those who watch television most regularly in addition to those who read newspapers most regularly are more likely to vote, consume news and information about politics and tend to be older.
On the other hand, the heaviest internet users are likely to be younger and therefore less likely to vote, the study found.
The research also found “the partisan profile of national newspaper readers is slightly left of center, making it an effective vehicle to reach disaffected 2008 Obama voters and the older Reagan/Clinton ticket-splitter.”
In addition, Feltus also discovered that a survey of 80 campaign mangers found campaigns spend 85-95% of their budgets on television even though the “demand for political advertising time has bid rates up to astronomical levels,” with some stations charging three times normal rates for political ads.
Feltus wrote that while “direct mail and literature drops are still seen as effective campaign tools,” a “magazine-style newspaper insert” would be even more effective because:
(1) it is more likely to actually make it inside the house and on to the coffee table,
(2) it is delivered inside a respected and valued media product that the reader purchases and uses,
(3) there is pass along readership (typically 2x) unlike television and Internet,
(4) the advertiser gets outside the wallpaper clutter of negative 30 second television advertising and can present in-depth positive and negative messaging in the same package.
The “MittZine” includes a profile of the Romneys, of “Paul Ryan’s American Journey,” and about how Mitt Romney saved rescued a co-worker’s daughter who had been kidnapped while he was Bain’s CEO.
A crossword puzzle includes clues such as:
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will create 12 million more
Since Obamacare, insurance rates ___ very fast
First name of the teenage girl whose life was saved by Mitt Romney
Obama’s message to small business (goes with 24 across)
Mitt Romney can __ the country out of the economic mess
Feltus told Breitbart News his firm originally wanted 16 pages instead of 12–and if they had achieved that, they could have covered more issues such as foreign affairs, as well focusing on Ann Romney’s grocery shopping tips (as seen on her TV appearance with Rachel Ray). Cartoons, a full-size crossword puzzle and even the candidates’ Election Day horoscopes could have been included.
The MittZine does include a fun feature about political family feuds in Brad Pitt’s and Angelina Jolie’s families (Pitt’s mother and Jolie’s father support Romney, while the celebrity duo supports Obama), which even The Hollywood Reporter found to be a creative way of making the magazine insert more interesting.
Feltus said news magazine readers “like some celebrities along with their political news, and especially like it when the two stories intersect.” He noted that even Ed Klein’s book about Obama, The Amateur, included a chapter on Oprah.
While the crosswords puzzles and Hollywood stories are fun, Feltus noted the MittZine was substantive and “focus groups strongly suggested that voters are more likely to ready the MizzZine articles than a typical direct mail card because the articles were more substantial and more interesting.”
“If you just hold the MittZine in one hand and a direct mail piece in the other, it’s intuitive,” Feltus said. “Each Mittzine can also be printed and delivered at a much, much lower cost than direct mail.”
And the MittZine could bring a greater return on investment because voters are saturated with political ads, which have been “priced out of whack,” in their mailboxes and on the airwaves and have been tuning them out.
“If you’re a targeted voter, your mailbox is just as cluttered as your TV and DVR,” Feltus said. “Meanwhile, here is the old-fashioned newspaper completely free of any political clutter. And newspaper readers are more likely to vote than TV viewers.”