Reddit’s TestPAC ad to air on TV

The online political action committee is going multiplatform with TV and direct mail campaigns.


Kevin Collier


Published May 23, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 4:45 pm CDT

The Internet hasn’t trumped television yet. In order to best defeat its sworn enemy, Reddit’s TestPAC has gotten a TV spot.

TestPAC is a political action committee founded in January for the purpose of unseating Lamar Smith, the Congressman responsible for introducing the Stop Online Piracy Act. Now that Smith is up for reelection, the group deemed it an opportune time to blast him as publicly as possible.

The ad will air 22 times on local television between May 21 and 27, mostly during late night talk shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Late Show With David Letterman. The total TV campaign cost just over $10,000, according to TestPAC chairman Jeromie Whalen.

The spot is identical to a YouTube video TestPAC volunteers created in April, which has gathered more than 20,000 views since its creation.

Smith, the original cosponsor of SOPA, drew Reddit’s particular ire when he called SOPA’s critics a “vocal minority.” A Republican, he’s been the Representative of the 21st District of Texas, a heavily conservative area, since 1987. Smith is regarded as most politically vulnerable in the May 29 primaries.

In addition to the TV spot, Test PAC is mailing out flyers to 8,000 residents in Smith’s district.

“Hold Lamar Smith accountable for bailing out big banks and partnering with liberal Hollywood,” reads one.

In addition, the Internet activist group Fight For the Future channeled donations into a new billboard in the 21st District, which complements an earlier one funded by Test PAC in April.

Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian is so excited by Fight For the Future’s new billboard, he personally posted a link to that site, writing “Your Don’t Mess With the Internet billboards are up in Lamar Smith’s home district!”

Reddit’s reach already spans the Internet. But with these multiplatform efforts, TestPAC may become equally influential in meatspace, too.

Photo via @iamweswilson

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*First Published: May 23, 2012, 1:11 pm CDT