Naked ad on Abbott’s Web site draws attention

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No, Steve Abbott did not mean to endorse a video for a varsity streaking team when he launched his latest campaign advertisement.

The Maine Republican gubernatorial hopeful’s campaign had used blip.tv as a video hosting Web site to air his campaign videos, the latest of which launched last week.

Soon after, a reporter with The Washington Independent got in touch with Felicia Knight, Abbott’s communications director, about an advertisement for a video titled, “Streak to Win” that was embedded on the screen after the campaign video. By clicking on the link, viewers were brought to a web series created by Hamilton College’s varsity streaking team, which included all the visuals one might expect.

“It took us a few minutes to figure out what was going on,” Knight said on Tuesday. She said the campaign didn’t pick out or endorse the streaking video that followed their advertisement and has switched to YouTube.com as a video hosting site.

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Knight said she isn’t sure how the reporter for the D.C.-based online publication originally came across the Abbott video, or why she cared enough to post a blog item about it.

“But we had put out a press release that said we had a new ad up and I think that Hot Air might have picked it up down in D.C., so she could have come across it on that,” Knight said. “It is what it is and you were able to reach that video from our Web site, which has since been corrected.”

The original Washington Independent story on April 8 prompted follow-up blogs by CNN and others.

A spokesman for blip.tv said the company has a strict policy in terms of service around prohibited content, but that the “Streak to Win” video does not violate any.

Eric Mortensen, blip.tv’s director of content, said ‘Streak To Win’ has been featured in the New York Television Festival as well as being nominated for Streamy Awards.

“There is nothing in Streak To Win that couldn’t be shown on basic cable; frankly, it could probably even be shown on broadcast TV,” he said. “Users, including Steve Abbott’s campaign, are always able to turn off staff picks in their custom player builder.”

Knight said the Abbott campaign was trying to take the distraction in stride.

“We certainly want to get exposure, but this isn’t the kind of exposure we had in mind,” she said.

This post has been updated from the original version.

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