Political campaign content in numbers


This year’s US presidential campaign has produced more than its fair share of memorable, surprising, and head-shaking soundbites from the candidates, giving each of them plenty of fodder for their campaign ads. However, stock media has also always played a large role in campaign ads — as far back  as the infamous Daisy attack ad from 1964 and Reagan’s often-cited 1984 “Morning in America” ad. In that tradition, Pond5, home to the world’s largest collection of royalty-free HD and 4k video clips, has announced new data that sheds light on the huge spike in searches for political content on its platform.

Pond5's hub of politics-related video currently includes more than 34,000 clips, enabling filmmakers and producers to find the best campaign-related content more easily and more affordably than ever. In addition, the use of Pond5’s new AI search tools will enable makers to find the political-focused footage even more rapidly.

According to the LA Times, Wells Fargo securities analyst Marci Ryvicker has estimated that candidates will spend $6 billion on political ads in 2016, a 16 percent increase from the last US presidential campaign in 2012. Pond5 has found that media buyers and filmmakers are also more interested in political content than ever before.

Since January of this year, Pond5 has seen:

  • 800 percent more search volume for Trump-related content than that of Hillary Clinton 
  • The top tagged keywords for each candidate’s campaign ads, revealing the overall messaging and focus of their campaigns. Findings include:
  • Donald Trump’s primary campaign video is most associated with patriotic imagery that has tags like “America,” “army,” and “proud,” but also has a share of somber content with tags “distraught” and “depression.” 
  • One of Hillary Clinton’s campaign videos directly focuses on scientific research for climate  change, with tags like “outdoors,” “technology,” and “science,” while also promoting growth in America with tags like, “milestones.” 
  • Bernie Sanders' primary campaign video draws an association with universal healthcare and education, with tags like “strength,” “career,” and “healthy,” while also uniting America, with tags like, “lifestyles” and “together.”
  • One of Marco Rubio’s campaign videos features an upbeat message, including a drumline audio clip that plays in the background. Tags include, “dramatic,” “energetic,” “patriotic,” “playful,” “intense,” and “confident.” 
  • One of Chris Christie’s campaign videos  draws on fear in the Middle East and takes a stand against terrorism, with tags like “Middle East,” “angry,” burning,” “crowd,” and “danger.”
  • Based on the analysis of the 2016 election campaign videos, Republican candidates tend to use more negative or grim imagery that demonstrates distress and their perceived condition of the United States, while Democrats tend to use inspirational footage that alludes to the country’s future. If it comes down to Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump, the public can expect to see videos from Trump that use more negative, fear-inducing imagery and shows America in a crisis. In contrast, campaign videos from Hillary are more likely to contain optimistic footage that shows America moving forward. 

“$6 billion is being spent on political ads this year alone,” said Ryan Scott, co-CEO of Pond5. “The nature of this industry is rapid production, and candidates are constantly running new campaigns based on current events and their standing in the polls. We've seen the usage of stock footage explode month after  month, while being utilized across screens from TV to desktop to mobile. It’s not just campaigns, but also Super PACs, news outlets, and special-interest groups that are embracing the use of stock footage.”

As evidenced by a recent segment on HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Pond5 has become the go-to hub for all stock media content, used by top political campaigns ranging from Hillary Clinton to Marco Rubio. The company has even paid homage to the traditional use of stock footage in campaign videos and the upcoming election by creating a series of spoof campaign videos for Star Wars characters made entirely from Pond5 assets.

For more information, or to start searching for the best political-themed media, visit: www.pond5.com/politics.
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