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Blue State Digital

Blue State Digital is a digital strategy and technology firm that specializes in online fundraising, advocacy, social networking, and constituency development. It was founded by former staffers of Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign and provided digital strategy and technology services for the 2008 and 2012 Barack Obama presidential campaigns. The company is led by the one remaining co-founder, Joe Rospars (CEO). Co-founder Jascha Franklin-Hodge (former CTO) left in July 2014 to become the Chief Information Officer for the City of Boston.[1][2]

Blue State Digital
FoundersJascha Franklin-Hodge, Clay Johnson (technologist), Joe Rospars, Ben Self
HeadquartersNew York, NY, United States
Washington, D.C., United States
Key people
Joe Rospars, founding partner and Chief Executive Officer

Blue State Digital has offices in New York City, Washington DC, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and London. In December 2010, Blue State Digital was acquired by WPP.



Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign pioneered new applications of new media to engage voters and raise campaign funds. In 2004, four former Dean staffers—Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Clay Johnson, Joe Rospars, and Ben Self—founded Blue State Digital[3] to improve technology solutions for political campaigns and provide online strategic services to complement the technology platform. The company launched with offices in Washington, DC, and Boston.

The following year, Thomas Gensemer joined Blue State Digital from America Coming Together, a Democratic-allied advocacy organization, to serve as managing partner.

Blue State Digital's earliest clients included Ted Kennedy's Senate campaign,[4] the Communications Workers of America,[5] the Democratic National Committee (chaired by Howard Dean), Harry Reid,[6] and AT&T.[7]

In 2007, Barack Obama's nascent presidential campaign recruited Blue State Digital to lead its digital efforts. Blue State Digital provided technology services—including web hosting, online fundraising tools, and a custom social networking platform—while Rospars built and led the campaign's internal new media strategy team. Over the course of the campaign, this team raised more than $500 million, mobilized millions of volunteers, and built an online community of 13 million supporters.[8]

Blue State Digital grew rapidly after the Obama campaign, opening offices in New York, Los Angeles, and London. It also grew its client base, working with clients like the American Red Cross,[9] United Way, Carnegie Hall,[10] and Vogue Magazine.[11]

On December 30, 2010, Blue State Digital announced that they had been wholly acquired by WPP Digital.[12]


Blue State Digital provides both strategic and technology services. Blue State Digital is also a full-service digital agency that develops and executes multiplatform engagement campaigns. Its strategic offerings include strategy, design, production, content strategy, digital communications, video, analytics, and online advertising.[13]

The BSD Tools are an online platform that integrates constituent databases, email management, online fundraising, content management, social networking, and web analytics.[14]

2007 "Hillary Clinton 1984" YouTube videoEdit

An employee of Blue State Digital, Philip de Vellis, admitted to having created a widely circulated video, "Hillary 1984," that edited clips from the Hillary Clinton campaign into the famous 1984 television advertisement by Apple Computer. In a blog entry posted on The Huffington Post, de Vellis indicated that he had resigned from Blue State Digital after making and publishing the video.[15] The company later released a statement claiming that they had terminated his employment. De Vellis stated in an interview with the Associated Press that he had created the video from home and that Blue State Digital had nothing to do with its creation.

The Obama campaign released a statement stating that it had no knowledge of and had nothing to do with the creation of the ad. De Vellis did claim that he helped design the Obama website.[16]

De Vellis lived with Senator Obama's press secretary in 2006[17] while they were both working on Sherrod Brown's campaign for Senate.

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ "Meet Our Leadership | Blue State Digital". Archived from the original on 2014-03-11. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  2. ^ Jascha Franklin-Hodge. "Jascha Franklin-Hodge". LinkedIn. Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  3. ^ "WPP Digital acquires Blue State Digital, LLC". Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  4. ^ "Blue State Digital Takes Over the World". TechPresident.
  5. ^ "WPP Adds Blue State Digital to Media Empire". MediaDailyNews.
  6. ^ "Salesforce: trouble for Blue State Digital? Don't bank on it". Jarret House North.
  7. ^ "Obama's Secret Weapon". Bloomberg Business Week. Archived from the original on 2008-06-28.
  8. ^ Talbot, David (8 January 2009). "The Geeks Behind Obama's Web Strategy".
  9. ^ "Blue State Digital Takes Over the World". TechPresident.
  10. ^ "Web fundraiser that aided Obama acquired". Crain's New York.
  11. ^ Adams, Russell (23 November 2009). "Wall Street Journal: Vogue Sees Web Lessons in Obama's Campaign". Wall Street Journal.
  12. ^ WPP Digital Acquires Blue State Digital, LLC
  13. ^ "Services | Blue State Digital". Archived from the original on 2012-05-12. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  14. ^ View Features | BSD Tools
  15. ^ de Vellis, Phil; Parkridge47, Aka (28 March 2008). "I Made the "Vote Different" Ad". Huffington Post.
  16. ^ Morain, Dan (23 March 2007). "Ad creator claimed role in Obama campaign — Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2014-01-30.
  17. ^ ABC News: Anti-Clinton Ad Maker Lived With Obama Staffer

External linksEdit