From the earliest days of the internet where the concept of launching a website was brand new, to launching our first campaign twitter account more than ten years ago, the HighGround team has been on the leading edge of integrating digital and interactive elements into our campaign efforts. We have watched digital assets evolve from novel experiments to essential campaign elements and have continued to grow our expertise accordingly to account for this transition. For nearly two decades, our team has been delivering innovation and client results in the realm of digital and social media.
Our forward-thinking approaches have led our team down a path of firsts – embracing innovation and being among the first to explore new technology. In fact, HighGround was the first in the country to launch a Virtual Reality (VR) political commercial. Our work with Art Haynie on Yes for Peoria allowed visitors to experience the natural beauty of the mountains in Peoria.
This was particularly effective for seniors who would not be able to make the hike to experience it firsthand. The innovation turned heads and drew attention to a local down-ballot issue that would not have received very much attention otherwise. Our work eventually took me the prize for the first ever Best Use of Virtual or Augmented Reality Reed Award from Campaigns & Elections.
HighGround’s track record of innovation stretches back more than 15 years when we worked with Mighty Interactive and Bohnsack Design to blaze trails on interactivity during a time to static websites. During the Yes on 400 campaign, the HighGround team developed a voter-centric website that housed a one of the first ever interactive maps. The site allowed voters to interact with the various modes of transportation and allow them to zoom-in and interact with the map. It also provided specific information detailing budget numbers, how many miles of freeway will be in the plan, how many miles of light rail, how many buses and park-and-ride lots will be included. The innovation of the website won multiple awards including the Transit Initiative Award for Most Innovative Use of the Web from the American Public Transportation Associationas well as a Pollie Award for Most Innovative Use of Technology from the American Association of Political Consultants.
Successful Web Video
Our team has a great deal of success developing both larger budget and lower budget web videos with great success. We have effectively used web videos as a tool to communicate complex topics that can be seen as difficult to understand or require a logical explanation to an emotional topic.
During the Medicaid Restoration debate in 2013, we faced a complicated topic regarding the state budget and what restoring and expanding Medicaid meant to the state. We needed legislators to understand the need to support the proposal to protect the rainy-day fund, reduce uncompensated care, and prevent 63,000 Arizonans from losing their health care at the end of the year.
To simplify the explanation, we utilized whiteboard animation to depict the complicated concept in the “Do the Math” Video. Ultimately, the issue passed the legislature, withstood a referendum attempt, and the whiteboard video won a Pollie Award for Best Internet Public Affairs Division Web Video State/ Local. In addition, Medicaid Restoration went on to be named the “2014 Campaign Excellence Public Affairs/Advocacy Campaign of the Year” by the American Association of Political Consultants.
Four years earlier, our team struck gold with a low-budget video that struck a nerve and brought facts to an emotional immigration debate. To drive home the importance of border security, we generated over a million views with our No one is laughing at Arizona Video – 1,277,234 views, the video was featured on Drudge Report and dozens of conservative websites.
Humor and Creativity
Our team has a unique ability to utilize humor and creativity to draw organic attention to substantive policy issues. During Governor Jan Brewer’s bid for a second term, we used humor to add clarity and draw attention to the immigration debate following the passage of SB1070. To highlight critical facts about the immigration issue, our team launched the “Arizona Sing-A-Long” which featured a singing frog that revealed top cabinet officials had condemned the law without even taking the time to read it. The Singing Frog Video went viral and rackedup more than 732k views on YouTube and took home a Pollie Award for Best Use of Humor in a Candidate Web Video.
During that same campaign, we launched creative websites to draw attention to Governor Brewer’s campaign and draw distinctions between her and her opponents as well as President Obama.
One example was celebrating the President’s birthday by launching a website (www.happybirthdayfromaz.com) that allowed people to email digital “birthday cakes” to Obama with messages such as “We Can’t Afford Your Health Care Policy” and “Visit Arizona, See for Yourself.” The site was an overwhelming success sending more than 44,500 digital “cakes” and the campaign able to collect more than 40,000 unique emails that we utilized for outreach and fundraising.
Email Blasts, Websites and Digital Writing
Effective email is not something new to our HighGround team; we have been creating impactful and successful emails in house for nearly two decades. Our team has a proven track record of breakthrough email that stretches back to crafting one of the first ever “viral” flash emails with our Halloween themed
“Chris is Missing” email on behalf of the Jan Brewer for Secretary of State all the way back in 2002. The email had an astounding open and forward rate and ultimately earned a Pollie Award for Best Use of Email/Viral Marketing.
In an age where almost all political emails are breathless fundraising asks aimed at creating widespread panic, we have been able to continue to create thoughtful, well-crafted email programs. We develop emails internally which allows for creativity and rapid deployment. We’ve done personal emails, endorsement announcements, interactive polls, holiday themed emails, and voter reminders all in concert with overall campaign messaging.
Our team uses websites to continue telling the campaign narrative. We are equipped with talented writers that can quickly facilitate blog posts, op-eds, endorsements and topical narratives to be modeled for use on varied digital platforms. We have proven winning website strategies that earn attention and awards such as the interactive map on Yeson400.com which won a Pollie for Best Internet – Website Initiative/ Referendum/ Constitutional Amendment in 2005 and the first of its kind property-tax calculator that anchoredYeson414.com, Save Our Healthcare which won a Pollie for Best Initiative/ Referendum Website in 2004.
We are well versed in writing for the internet with the renowned HighGround blog averaging more than a hundred page pages views per day and an astounding average open rate of more than 20% on email blasts. In addition, we have successfully deployed regularly published articles and blogs on behalf of a wide variety of public and private clients.