A Group of Filmmakers Made Pro-Clinton Campaign Ads to Convince Republicans Uneasy with Trump to Vote for Democratic
In Butler County, Ohio, in 2012, Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama with 61.6% of the vote. The solidly red county, north of Cincinnati, is not the type of place a Democratic presidential candidate would expect to do well.
But a group of documentary filmmakers believes their style of campaign storytelling could change that, both there and in similar communities in swing states across the country.
Lee Hirsch, director of “Bully” and founder of the group Local Voices, looked for “unlikely supporters” of Hillary Clinton in smaller markets, mainly in swing states such as Ohio.
“There's a lot of fear and intimidation in these communities [to support Clinton,]” he told IJR.
In West Chester, Ohio, located in Butler County, Joan, a former school board president and grandmother of six, talks about how her daughter said if Donald Trump is elected, she might have to censor the news for them.
“I think a lot of people are really struggling with it because they've always been Republican and yet they see Donald Trump's flaws,” she says in the ad.
The group finds voters for the campaign ads through referrals they get talking to people in the towns they target.
“We're all documentary filmmakers. We're good, like journalists, at talking to people,” Hirsch said.
The ads have a high level of recall because they're locally set, something the filmmakers and producers discovered with three rounds of external testing.
“That localness and authenticity steps it up for people,” he said.
They found an Ohio auto worker named Michele, a Montana cattle rancher named Richard, and a Florida reverend named Wayne.
Some voters end the ad saying simply they won't vote for Trump, while others say explicitly they're voting for Clinton.
“I have never once in my entire life ever voted for a Democrat. For anything. Ever,” says James Stepp, an Ohio truck driver, but that he's “actively saving the Republican Party from itself and casting a vote for Hillary Clinton.”
“That's a real feeling that's out there and we want to tap that,” Hirsch said.