CNN’s Abbi Tatton – along with the Heritage Foundation's Rob Bluey, Online Strategist David All, and yours truly – just got a preview of the John McCain’s new website (which will go live this afternoon).
The new site will be JohnMcCain.com (the old site was at ExploreMcCain.com). They’ve kept the black-and-white theme (which they believe projects seriousness and highlights his experience) and added lots of new and exciting features.
In fact, even the navigation bar is explained by Sen. McCain, via video. For example, if you want to click on “get breaking news,” McCain can, via video, explain to you what this section of the website is.
The main feature of the site is a large video box, which features an inspiring montage video of John McCain. Highly produced quick shots of McCain are accompanied by Rockyesque background music. Another video (which was sent out on Ronald Reagan’s birthday) shows several pictures of McCain with Reagan and Goldwater. While it is clear that McCain is tying himself to these two men – the relationships were sincere. McCain arguably knew Reagan better than any current GOP presidential candidate, and he also currently occupies Goldwater’s Senate seat.
This is essentially an online McCain-community which encourages anyone to create a blog, tell their own story, and raise money for the campaign. Users will be able to set fundraising goals, challenge friends to support McCain, and even thank their friends for making a donation. Additionally, folks can upload a YouTube video question for McCain.
Web strategist David All noted that the site lacks social networking features such as: Flickr, MySpace, Facebook, etc. These features will be included in future upgrades to the site.
Why unveil it today? Tomorrow, McCain will hold his first Town Hall meeting in Iowa. The video will be streamed live at 10 am central time.
From a strategic standpoint, I give the McCain campaign (and Spencer Whelan, who invited us) very high scores for bringing members of the new media into their headquarters for this briefing.
This is further proof that, when it comes to "new media," McCain's team "gets it."