Frank Strategies: The Blog


Online Video Tip of the Day

We here at Frank Strategies sometimes offer some non-partisan best-practices advice on our specialty: political online video.

Today’s tip: if you’re an elected official and you’re having an affair with one of your staffers, don’t post a video in which you discuss with said staffer HOW FREAKING AWESOME ABSTINENCE IS!

Some people might view this as a tad hypocritical.



White House Press Secretary Robert “Um” Gibbs?
February 4, 2009, 6:15 am
Filed under: Obama, Online Video, Videos That Make Me Want To Gouge My Eyes Out

As I watched yesterday’s breaking news coverage of Tom Daschle’s crash and burn, I caught one of Robert Gibbs’ White House briefings for the first time. And while watching Gibbs’s briefing, I was struck by how often he fell back on halting fillers like “uh” and “um.”

Judge for yourself in the video below. About five minutes into the briefing, I noticed what appeared to be a disproportionate number of “ums” and uhs,” so I rewound my DVR, set my little Flip video camera in front of the TV, recorded the rest of the briefing, then strung together some of the fillers together. Obviously this takes Gibbs’ full 40-minute briefing out of context, but I only clipped together the longest, most egregious fillers – I left probably two-thirds of them on the virtual cutting-room floor. And I tried hard to make sure that none of the clips in the video are repeats of the same sound bytes – they’re all unique “ums and uhs.”

Now don’t get me wrong. Robert Gibbs a pro, and he does a decent job at fielding tough questions for probably the first time as White House press secretary. He certainly does a better job than I’d do.

But a main purpose of this blog is to comment on notable developments in political communications. And frankly, it’s hard not to notice that the new White House press secretary seems to use a lot more halting fillers than his predecessors did.

Has anybody else noticed this, and if so, what should the Obama White House do about it, if anything?



This Video is Not the Answer
December 10, 2008, 1:18 pm
Filed under: Republican Party, Videos That Make Me Want To Gouge My Eyes Out

I don’t know him, but RNC Chairman Mike Duncan seems like a genuinely nice guy.

But with all due respect to Mr. Duncan, this video just isn’t the way to blow up the stereotype of the GOP as the party of boring, old white guys.

I don’t want to say this video is boring, but if it were any more effective at curing insomnia, the FDA would have to approve it.

In any case, here are four unsolicited suggestions for how to make a video like this a little more effective at rebranding the party and attracting new voters to the cause:

1. Burn the tired law-office backdrop. In fact, get out of the stuffy old studio completely. Maybe lose the tie.

2. Shorten it way up. Nobody in the real world is going to watch a ten-minute video. You’ve got 60 seconds… three minutes tops. I understand this video is supposedly targeted at RNC committee members, but shouldn’t the real audience be every American citizen who may vote at some time in the next 50 years?

3. Don’t try to claim that this election didn’t result in “gloom and doom” for the party. Did you see the returns? Pretty much the definition of gloom and doom, in fact. Instead, at least pretend to have learned some lessons and lay out a grand vision for the future.

4. Check out Obama’s YouTube page for inspiration. Steal his methods shamelessly.




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