Dec 10, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Biden puts anti-Trump NATO ad on TV after online success

Former Vice President Joe Biden in Iowa during his "No Malarkey" bus tour. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Joe Biden's 2020 campaign is now running a TV version of his viral digital ad — which shows other world leaders laughing at President Trump at NATO — in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.

Why it matters: The former vice president is leaning heavily on foreign policy to make his electability pitch to voters and demonstrate another clear contrast between himself and Trump.

  • He did this last week during his "No Malarkey" bus tour throughout Iowa, and the foreign policy-focused ad got so much attention that the campaign wants to continue hammering this theme to as many voters as possible before the February caucuses.

What they're saying: The Biden campaign argues that one of his strongest contrasts with Trump making the case to voters that Trump "embarrasses" America on the world stage, whereas Biden would work to restore the country's global standing with other world leaders.

  • The numbers don't lie: "Laughed At" — which the campaign released last week targeting likely caucus-goers in Iowa on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Hulu — has racked up nearly 12 million views.
  • Samantha Power, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, called it "one of the strongest ads of the 2020 campaign" that's "both mortifying & powerful to watch."
  • The TV ad is part of the campaign's $4 million ad buy in Iowa that started Nov. 1 and runs through caucus day. It will also run nationally this weekend during the Iowa vs. Iowa State basketball game.

Be smart: Testing ads on social media before going up on TV allows 2020 campaigns to get a better sense of which messages and videos perform better with voters — and for a fraction of the cost.

The bottom line: With the Iowa caucuses just weeks away, and Biden in third and fourth place in several Iowa polls, the campaign thinks a strong foreign policy message is one way to try to win over voters throughout the state.

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