Matt Varilek: Drive You Nuts Campaign for Congress

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Campaign Spot

Get off that machine, Ms. Noem.

Congresswoman Kristi Noem is spending too much time on the phone, not enough time working for voters.

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Sioux Falls, South Dakota

In red-­state South Dakota, our Democratic candidate Matt Varilek needed to stay out of the national partisan conversation and focus on personal values. There was video evidence of our opponent, Kristi Noem, ignoring her responsibilities as Congresswoman. We wanted to use that in order to draw a non-­partisan comparison between Varilek and Noem. Varilek works hard, and Noem hardly works.

"Drive you Nuts" got good earned media, both locally and nationally. Out on the trail Matt Varilek received positive feedback about the differences between the two candidates. Up til then, Noem's ads were comparing Varilek to Obama, which was detrimental to our campaign. After we aired this ad she was forced to change her paid communication strategy, and produce and air an ad that talked about her work ethic. We successfully manipulated the conversation in the direction we desired. In our polling, Noem's negatives were on the rise along with Varilek's name ID. It was a good step in a very steep uphill climb.

Unfortunately, we were not able to surmount Noem's numbers in a very Republican South Dakota. But we were able to close the gap to 5 points before election day, with this ad as the engine.

This ad and was recognized by the American Association of Political Consultants with a Bronze Pollie Award for Best Use of Negative Contrast, US House.