“North Carolina resident Crystal Harris was listening to Garth Brooks’ “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)” when an ad appeared on her iPhone screen, followed by a pop-up message.
“To help Mitt Romney become the next president, Romney for President, Inc would like to use your e-mail address — tap OK to let Pandora share this info,” the message read.
Pandora’s targeted e-mail sharing pitch isn’t new, but it’s being offered to political advertisers for the first time this year, a company spokeswoman said. Both Democrats and Republicans, and both local and national campaigns, have used the service to collect voter e-mails.
In the case of the Pandora ad, it’s not clear why the Romney pop-up appeared on Harris’ screen — whether she was targeted, because, for instance, she lives in a swing state, or because she was listening to Garth Brooks.
Pandora, which would not comment on any client’s particular strategy, offers both these kinds of targeting: campaigns can send ads to particular listeners based on their favorite artist or type of music, as well as by their age, gender and state, county or congressional district.
There is evidence that the Romney campaign pays attention to the musical taste of potential supporters. Earlier this year, the campaign told The New York Times that their online targeting research had revealed that people who like jazz were less likely to respond to their online ads.”