Clinton's "Creative" Campaign Tactics

I always thought that people in campaign ads had given their permission for the use of their image and that it was fairly recent footage. I was wrong.

Last night I was watching the news and saw a promo for a story that really shocked me. It said that one of the people in the now famous 3:00 am commercial by the Clinton campaign was actually an Obama supporter who was shocked to see herself in the commercial. I left the room for two minutes and of course I missed the story. I had to find out more, so I just did a Google search and found this story on

I was wrong to think that the people who appeared in a campaign ad were usually at some sort of campaign event for the person. Apparently not. The Clinton campaign used footage owned by Getty Images. The kids sleeping were obviously not at a campaign event, but I at least thought that they were filmed for this ad specifically.

I wonder how widespread this practice is for campaign commercials to contain stock footage? It seems that there should be some sort of rule about this. The use of stock footage in a campaign ad seems different to me than if it used in a regular commercial for a product or service. Although that seems a bit misleading as well. I usually assume that film used in all commercials was shot specifically for that use.

How many advertisements in general contain unwilling participants? Sure they probably signed an agreement that had some fine print saying that any extra footage from the commercial or whatever they were in may become stock footage and used for other purposes, but do people really understand this? If someone really needs money and does a cereal commercial, do they really think that their picture will wind up years later in an ad promoting nuclear energy? Probably not. But, I digress.

Here's an excerpt from the news story.

The first girl in the ad is young Casey Knowles. It's stock footage from eight years ago when she worked as a TV extra - footage owned now by Getty Images and used by the Clinton campaign.

But they couldn't have picked a more unwilling star.

"It's really sort of ironic that my image would be used to advocate for Hillary when I myself do not," said Casey.

She may only be 17, but Casey has some very strong political opinions. She turns 18 - legal voting age - in April, in plenty of time before the general election.

"It's perfect timing because I have a candidate that I really identify with," she said.

"I've been campaigning for Barack Obama for a few months now," she said. "I was actually a precinct captain at the caucuses a few months ago. I attended his rally a few months ago and I'm a very, very avid supporter."

There's a related story on the Huffington Post that is quite interesting as well.

Well, the Clinton campaign did plant a student to ask certain questions at a campaign event a few months ago. Remember this story from November? I guess I shouldn't be surprised about anything that her campaign does at this point.

Anali's First Amendment © 2006-2008. All rights reserved.

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Nance said…
Stock footage/photos are just that: stock. They can be used for anything. I know a girl whose photo was used for a Seventeen magazine story on witchcraft. She was understandably upset, but it was a stock image.

Casey Knowles is on record--and on television--offering to appear in a counter-ad for the Obama campaign. So far, they've not taken her up on the offer.

This kind of stuff happens all the time. A song written by one of the former members of the group Boston was used by one of the Republican candidates, Huckabee. The songwriter is a firm Democrat. McCain stopped using a Mellencamp song.

Campaigns are like a whole other world. And when they're over, everyone makes nice again. The great thing about Obama is, he's tried to stay above the fray all along. Sadly, it makes him look as if he's not a fighter in other arenas, too.
dmarks said…
I laughed out loud when the Boston guy proclaimed that Huckabee was against everything the band Boston stood for.

Like.. what's that? The idea of making every single song on every album sound just about the same? That's the only thing Boston stands for that I can think of.
Suldog said…
I can't speak about film, but I know that I've had my voice-over segments used many years after the fact. I received no extra remuneration, nor did I expect any. I knew that the flat fee I was paid initially was all I'd ever get.

Now, if someone had taken my segments and re-cut them to say something totally different, maybe that would be comparable to what you're citing. It is an interesting little abnormality.
Anonymous said…
Wow..i wonder what happened to those naked pictures of myself i sold years ago.. JUST KIDDING!! hehe.

I guess it's a common practice but it's kind of screwed up when you become a 'face' in something you don't want to be involved with. Look it could be worse.. she could have found herself in a Mc Cain commercial. haha.
Televisiontraci said…
Just for more clarity when you are hired to do a "stock photo," you are hired as just that. You are not representing a product. For example I did some stock work for an African American woman on the beach once. The pictures were very generic, and can be used for anything until I am old and grey. I get paid once and they are sold over and over.

Crazy but true.
Tera said…
I alluded to campaign tactics in my latest post. It's almost scary, and at the rate Hilary and Barack are going at each other in some instances, this may mean trouble for the Democratic party. And quite honestly, I think anyone can see that this is something that the Republicans can appreciate...they will sit back and wait...
dmarks said…
Perhaps the Republicans should be dismayed, because they can't get anything on Obama. Hillary tried... but all she has is thins like a long page in her official web site attacking Obama for what he said when in KINDERGARTEN!
Lisa Johnson said…
nance - Wow, that would be strange waking up to find that you are suddenly the face of witchcraft! I mean if that's what you're into, more power to you. No pun intended! I'm going to pay more attention to commercials now and see if I can tell which part is stock, and which is not.

dmarks - Welcome! That was a pretty amusing story. Candidates have to be careful which songs they choose. I think that I heard that Hillary Clinton chose a Celine Dion song for her campaign. I guess for about five minutes there was flack that she chose a Canadian artist over an American one. And I'm sure the Republicans will keep trying to find dirt on Obama. If they can't find anything, they'll just make something up.
Lisa Johnson said…
suldog - When you do the voice-over work, do they tell you that it will be sold as stock later isn't sold as "stock" though is it?

zen chef - LOL! Good thing you don't have to track those down! : )
Lisa Johnson said…
televisiontraci - Welcome! Thanks for the information! So then I wonder why this other footage was used as stock if people didn't specifically agree to it. Very interesting...

tera - This fighting between Democrats is certainly not helping the party.

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