The Impact of “Hillary 1984”

March 21, 2007 · 12:10 AM EDT

Nobody should be surprised by the overreaction to the Hillary Clinton/Apple pseudo TV spot posted on YouTube. Reporters (and political consultants) simply love anything new and creative, even if its political impact is non-existent.

The ad, fashioned after an Apple ad from 1984, got tons of airtime earlier this week as the cable networks and talking heads buzzed about how creative it was, how technology is changing politics and what it all means for the future.

Here’s a news flash: the “ad” will have no political impact. Entertaining: Absolutely. Creative? Certainly. An interesting example of modern technology? Sure. But the ad won’t change any votes, and it is unlikely to create or re-make impressions of Senators Clinton or Barack Obama.

Interestingly, more people will see the ad on or hear about it from “traditional” cable or broadcast television networks than will watch it on YouTube. So if the ad had any impact anyway, it would be because of the reach of traditional forms of media, which played the spot repeatedly.

But at the end of the day, the YouTube ad will be a footnote about the campaign. It’s yet another example of the tactical nature of this 2008 campaign, and while tactics can and do matter, the Democratic race will be decided in Iowa and New Hampshire by a relative handful of Democratic participants, not by Washington, D.C. insiders who are all aflutter with the latest hip happening.

Technology obviously changes campaigns, and one day YouTube, Facebook and the Internet overall may determine who wins and who doesn’t. But for the 2008 cycle, it’s still those dreary “old media” that matter, no matter how many people want to get ahead of the curve and how creative and interesting the new technologies of the day.

This item first appeared on Political Wire on March 20, 2007.