Karen Bass for LA Mayor


Overcoming a 11:1 spending disadvantage with strategic digital advertising


Karen Bass’s mayoral campaign came into the general election against a self-funded billionaire at a significant financial disadvantage. She brought on 50+1 Strategies to run digital paid media production and placement to help turn out Democratic voters and persuade voters who were likely to see significant messaging from the opposition.


We used a data-driven approach, segmenting our audience by age and ethnicity, and varying our ads based on media consumption habits. Our team invested heavily in Spanish-language communication, and leaned into programmatic and display ads for events that were likely to drive traffic, such as the World Cup. Knowing that voters might see fewer of our ads, we prioritized memorable ads with powerful messages, including an endorsement from President Obama and compelling, culturally resonant video.


Karen Bass won the general election by nearly 10 points and became Los Angeles’s first Black woman mayor. Despite a massive fundraising disadvantage, with smart targeting the campaign was able to reach voters with compelling ads. Our digital ads were viewed millions of times, with high rates of video completion. The digital program won the Reed Award for Best Use of Online Targeting in a Mayoral Race.