Bergen County Republicans Rob Hermansen and John Driscoll won two freeholder seats with a micro-targeted, internet heavy ad campaign that focused on a positive message, according to Hermansen’s campaign manager.
Ramsey Republican activist Deirdre Woodbyrne, who ran Hermansen’s campaign but not Driscoll’s, said that her candidate smartly focused on things like a front page newspaper “popper,” Facebook ads and YouTube videos more than more traditional mediums like television, radio and mailers.
“Where Christie lost, we won. We didn’t have any money for TV ads. We didn’t have any money for radio ads. We used the internet and we used the positive message,” she said.
Woodbyrne said the campaign got especially positive feedback from a YouTube ad they put up featuring footage of the all-Democratic Bergen County freeholder board unable to explain what a $100,000 project they were about to vote on entailed. They voted for it anyway, drawing a rebuke at the meeting from Hermansen that was featured at the end of the video.
Woodbyrne said that one of her campaign’s Facebook ads drew 3 million impressions during the four days leading up to November 3. And she said they reached out to the county's Hispanic, Korean-American and Chinese-American populations, not assuming they would automatically vote Democratic.
And then there was the “popper” in The Record, in which County Clerk Kathe Donovan – the county’s only elected Republican official and the top vote getter on the ballot last year – said she trusted the two Republicans to be her voice on the freeholder board.
Woodbyrne, who belongs to a faction of the party at odds with Chairman Bob Yudin, would not criticize him. But she noted that all the above things she mentioned were from Hermansen’s strategy.
“He’s the chairman, but I think without taking anything away from him, we paid for everything,” she said, referring to the internet and newspaper ads (The BCRO did send three waves of mail in the district).