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New Snapchat ad opposing Iran deal targets Ben Cardin

Secure America Now, an advocacy group opposing the Iran nuclear deal, is unveiling a new Snapchat ad Wednesday that targets Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a critical vote on the agreement.

The ad uses what’s called a “filter” — an image that Snapchat users can superimpose onto their photos and videos and share with their friends on the social media site. The filter, shown below, depicts the image of microphones along with the text, “Tell Senator Cardin: No to the bad Iran deal!”

The ad, which will be promoted in Maryland, is the first time a Snapchat technology is being used to lobby a specific lawmaker on a single piece of legislation. Secure America Now previously ran an ad opposing the Iran deal that was distributed to Ohio Snapchat users the day before the Aug. 6 GOP debate in Cleveland, though that ad was not aimed at an individual lawmaker.

The target audience for the new ad is Marylanders between the ages of 18 and 30.

“I’m very interested in pushing this message to a younger audience that’s not watching MSNBC or Fox News. They’re not watching that — they’re on Snapchat all day,” said Vincent Harris of Harris Media, who manages Secure America Now’s digital advertising and marketing.

Cardin, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is considered the most important Democrat after Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on the Iran deal. Cardin is undecided and has said he will announce his decision after Labor Day. Congress has until Sept. 17 to vote on a resolution either approving or disapproving the nuclear agreement.

[After Schumer, Cardin holds the most cards on Iran]

The new Snapchat ad is part of a seven-figure digital ad buy by Secure America Now to oppose the deal. Harris declined to elaborate on the spending figures, but said the Snapchat buy in Maryland is “significant.”

Other parts of the digital strategy include a website,, which has a scorecard on lawmakers based on their position on the deal. The site allows users to click  a “call now” button that connects them with the offices of Cardin and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who is also undecided on the deal.

Since debuting a week ago, the web site has generated 2,164 calls to Cardin’s office and 4,700 emails to his chief of staff, according to statistics tracked by Harris’ firm.

Harris said similar Snapchat filter ads opposing the deal may be promoted in other states over the next two weeks, including Colorado, Missouri and New Jersey — the home states of Sens. Bennet, Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.). McCaskill appears to be leaning toward supporting the deal and Booker is publicly undecided.

“This is the first time ever in Snapchat history that anyone in politics has purchased a filter specifically calling out certain legislators,” Harris explained. “We’re excited to see the response and hope that Sen. Cardin hears from young voters all across the state of Maryland who will be seeing this tomorrow.”