Greg Abbott Airs Campaign Ads at Movie Theaters to Broaden Audience

Image: Greg Abbott Airs Campaign Ads at Movie Theaters to Broaden Audience Texas Attorney General and candidate for governor, Greg Abbott.

Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 01:33 PM

By Andrea Billups

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Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott is ready for his closeup and is coming to big screens across his home state.

The GOP candidate is showcasing his campaign message through 30-second spots being run during the previews before feature films at select theaters, the Dallas Morning News reported.

"We are constantly seeking new avenues to reach out to voters," Abbott's campaign spokesman, Matt Hirsch, told the Morning News, adding  the theater approach may be a first in Texas.

The spots, which feature Abbott seated inside a theater working out takes with a studio clapboard, are geared at reaching a broader audience and are being aired in two dozen movie theaters across the state, he said.

Whether they will be successful is unclear as Abbott, the state's attorney general, faces off against his Democrat opponent, Democratic Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, in a race where he has far outpaced her in campaign contributions, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

Both candidates have raised the same amount of money during the latest fundraising period, $11 million, the Morning News reported, adding that Abbott has far more cash on hand with about $35.6 million left to spend in an expensive race. By turn, Davis has raised about $13.1 million, turning to out-of-state donors for help.

Such a tactic to run theater ads offers one advantage for Abbott, said political scientist Mark Jones of Rice University — a captive audience. "There’s no way to fast forward through an ad when you’re sitting in a theater," Jones told the Morning News. "With the increased use of DVRs, your ability to ensure people actually watch an ad on TV is much more limited."

Abbott's movie ads are centered around a "liberty" theme, The Daily Caller reported and are used to optimize the candidate's online outreach. They encourage viewers to text the word "FREEDOM" to the campaign, which will allow it to gather contact information for voters.

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