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Joe Biden’s presidential campaign announced on Friday a paid media campaign targeting Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities that will include ads airing nationally and in 16 key states. The push, first reported by Yahoo News, is one of the first major political advertising campaigns specifically aimed at reaching Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders.
In August, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee made a $45,000 ad buy on a local Vietnamese-language cable television station in California, but the Biden campaign’s ad blitz is far bigger. Along with the television spot, the push will have digital, radio and print ads that the campaign says will be aimed at Asian-American and Pacific Islander constituencies “in key battleground states.”
The outreach effort comes after some progressives and Biden allies raised concerns over the summer about the campaign’s outreach to people of color, particularly Latinos and African-Americans. Democrats have traditionally enjoyed an edge among minorities, but polls had shown Biden underperforming and President Trump’s campaign engaged in efforts to improve his margins among people of color.
Since August, Biden’s numbers have improved, including among Black and Latino voters.
The centerpiece of the program is a television commercial titled “Stand Together.” The ad features a narrator framing Biden’s Democratic ticket as a return to American values alongside photos of families, workers and veterans from different Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities. Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, who is the first Indian-American vice presidential candidate, is featured prominently in the 60-second clip.
“It’s time to go home to a place we once knew, a country of kindness and compassion, empathy and community, tolerance and generosity, integrity and hope,” the narrator says in the ad. “It’s time to stand together in a place called America, the place we all call home. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris know the way.”
Polling of Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities is sparse, since that categorization spans a wide swath of linguistically and culturally diverse voters. The third annual Asian American Voter Survey, which was released last month, showed Biden beating Trump in multiple segments of the community, except among Vietnamese-Americans. The survey also indicated the Indian-American and East Asian American communities where Biden has an advantage still have undecided voters, which makes the space a clear growth opportunity for the Democratic ticket.
Potomac Waves Media, a woman- and minority-owned advertising firm that specializes in outreach to communities of color, produced the ads. Courtni Pugh, a partner at the firm and Biden’s senior adviser for paid media, touted the landmark nature of the push.
“As an Asian-American woman, I’m proud that the Biden-Harris campaign is making an [historic] outreach effort in the [Asian-American and Pacific Islander] community,” Pugh said in a statement released by the Biden campaign.
The campaign declined to say exactly how much is being spent on the advertising push. However, in August, Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon released a memo saying Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders would be among the “key constituencies” targeted through a massive $280 million advertising spend. In that memo, O’Malley Dillon cited the Democratic advantage with these communities and noted that targeting them “could increase the party’s margin of victory in closely contested battleground states.”
Harris also touted the Biden campaign’s effort to reach a diverse selection of voters during the vice presidential debate on Wednesday.
“Joe and I are particularly proud of the coalition we’ve built around our campaign,” she said. “We probably have one of the broadest coalitions of folks that you’ve ever seen in a presidential race.”
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