Campaign 2012 is gonna be brutal if you’re a TV watcher (or a web surfer). If you want to check out the veracity of claims made in the Romney and Obama ads flooding your device of choice, check out SuperPACApp and Reactvid.


The Romney and Obama campaigns are spending zillions on ads — most of which could kindly be called “negative.” If you want to sort out the charges and countercharges there are two new apps from two Cambridge, MA., developers to help.

Glassy Media says its SuperPACApp, coming to the iTunes store in time for the Republican Convention — will provide commercial “objective, third-party information” about the campaign ad’s message. Users hold their iPhone or iPod Touch up to “audio footprint” or identify the ad and SuperPACApp provides information on who is funding the ad and by how much. Oh, and it also includes whether the claims are factual or not so much. The free app requires iOS 5.0 or later.

The company, which grew out of MIT’s Media Lab, says more than $240 million has already flowed into more than 650 Super PACs. And guess where most of that money goes?

As Dan Siegel, co-creator of the SuperPACApp told The Boston Globe:

“Your TV is going to be screaming political ads at you, especially if you live in a swing state … To help users or voters to learn a little bit more about the information that is being thrown at them: We think that’s incredibly important.”

Some say that there may not be enough broadcast air time to soak up all this ad money — and that even web ad inventory is getting stretched to the max. And now the ad spending is spilling over into mobile devices, as well, as GigaOM’s  Jeff Roberts reports here.

Nimblebot.com, another Cambridge, startup, launched Reactvid a fact-checking web application that seeks to crowd-source the fact checking process of these ads. Volunteers watch the video on the Reactvid site and vote up or down as to whether each claim is true. The responses are then shared and moderated.

Applications like these reflect the growing trend of TV watchers using other devices to enhance or, in this case, check up on what they’re seeing on the big screen.

Feature photo courtesy of Flickr user Elvert Barnes

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  1. Paul Lancaster Friday, August 10, 2012

    Reblogged this on Paul Lancaster's Blog and commented:
    Although its not currently applicable to the UK, I’d like to see more of this kind of interaction with TV audio, much like Shazam offers for ‘more info’ on tv shows now.

  2. Another option to combat negative ads is to watch more positive ones.

    Even though it’s a spoof, it’s more refreshing than a lot of the negativity out there!

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