Google Removed Our Ad. Where Is The ‘Shocking Content’?

Blue America’s IE Committee has begun purchasing ads for our candidates. The first batch went up as a YouTube pre-roll for Kara Eastman (NE-02), Liam O’Mara (CA-42), Mike Siegel (TX-10) and Julie Oliver (TX-25).

There’s another one, still in production, going up for Adam Christensen (FL-03) this week. I want to talk about the Julie Oliver ad because Google removed it and told us it violates their “shocking content” policy.

They didn’t tell us which part of the ad violates the policy. Here’s the policy:

Shocking content

The following is not allowed:

  • Promotions containing violent language, gruesome or disgusting imagery, or graphic images or accounts of physical trauma

Examples (non-exhaustive): Crime scene or accident photos, execution videos

  • Promotions containing gratuitous portrayals of bodily fluids or waste
  • Blood, guts, gore, sexual fluids, human or animal waste
  • Promotions containing obscene or profane language
  • Swear or curse words, slurs relating to race or sexuality, variations and misspellings of profane language

If the official name of your product, website, or app includes profane language, request a review and provide details of the name.

Promotions that are likely to shock or scare

Examples (non-exhaustive): Promotions that suggest you may be in danger, be infected with a disease, or be the victim of a conspiracy

We appealed and we lucked-out. The Google employee who got the appeal is not a right-wing freak like the one who disapproved the ad (after, we assume, getting complaints from Republicans in the district.) So the ad was up again. In the interim we made another version where we took out slides we thought might offend someone enough to claim they violated the policies. And sure enough, on Saturday, they disapproved the ad again!

Please take look at it above and tell us if you can tell us what you think is “shocking content.” The ads only run in the candidates’ respective districts. But you can see them all on the Blue America YouTube site.

The music for the Julie Oliver ad, “Cussin’ Trump,” was created by two-time Grammy Award winner Gary Nicholson, who re-purposed his song “You Can’t Listen When You’re Talkin'” and gave it to us (gratis) to use to help our candidates.

When Google pulled it down there were already 2,182 impressions and almost a quarter of them– 517 people– had watched at least 30 seconds. Blue America is charged $36.01 for that many views, a good deal. As of Saturday afternoon, over 4,000 people had watched at least 30 seconds of each of the other ads.

Right now 4,155 people have watched the Mike Siegel ad, 4,944 have watched the Liam O’Mara ad, 4,458 have watched the Kara Eastman ad. And we’re determined to get the Julie Oliver ad back up– as well as the Adam Christensen ad when it’s finished. That’s a lot of viewers and we’re happy about the campaign, other than the arbitrary interference by Google. So far we’ve spent $436.17 on O’Mara, $437.08 on Eastman and $432.40 on Siegel. Amazing how close it is.

Goal ThermometerIn any case, we fund these ad campaigns with the money contributors give to Blue America. We usually only ask for contributions for our I.E. (Independent Expenditure) Committee once a year. That’s today.

You can contribute by clicking here or on the 2020 IE thermometer on the right. You can also send a check to Blue America PAC, I.E. at PO Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027.

I always feel a little embarrassed asking for contributions that don’t go directly to our candidates, mostly because I believe the candidates know how to spend contribution money better than we or anyone else. But Blue America is an all volunteer organization and over 95% of the contributions that come in are given to the candidates.

We have some fun with the IEs– billboards, TV and radio ads, newspaper ads and these Google ads. And we’re always open to suggestions for how work more effectively and which candidates to concentrate on.

The contributions we get today will go to keep these ads running and to make ads for more candidates. If you can, we’d appreciate your help.

Thanks for always doing what you can to help make this a better world,

–Howie, for the entire Blue America team


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