For-profit

Blue State

Website:

www.bluestate.co/

Location:

Brooklyn, NY

Formation:

2004

Industry:

Consulting

Founder & CEO:

Joe Rospars

Type:

Left-Progressive Vendor

Advertising Services

Blue State (formerly Blue State Digital) is an advertising agency and strategic consulting firm that provides services to left-of-center nonprofits, left-progressive political causes, companies, and Democratic electoral campaigns. [1]

It is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, and has offices in Washington, D.C.; London; Chicago; and Oakland, California. [2]

Background

Blue State was founded as “Blue State Digital” in 2004. [3]

One of Blue State’s first major undertakings supporting then-Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2007. Blue State built a fundraising movement for the Obama campaign that Blue State claims to have been accomplished “faster than any campaign in history.” It prides itself on having had a supposedly egalitarian structure, with Rospars in the position of head of digital and yet on equal footing with other senior staffers. [4]

The Blue State team managed the Obama brand, hired video makers to build Obama’s YouTube channel, aided grassroots outreach movements, and established, according to Blue State, “the most sophisticated online fundraising operation ever seen.” Obama’s campaign, through the help of Blue State, cultivated a network of 10 million supports and raised about $500 million in online donations. [5]

In December 2010, it was announced that WPP, UK-based global advertising and communications giant, acquired Blue State (then Blue State Digital). [6]

As of June 2022, Blue State was estimated to have between 200 and 400 employees. [7] [8]

Activities

Blue State offers audience insights, data and systems integration, CRM strategy, fundraising techniques and customer engagement methods, website design and development, video creation, and other digital services to its clients. [9] The firm prides itself on its commitment to “diversity inclusion,” “values over profits,” and challenging the status quo when it “stands in the way of progress.” [10] It devotes an entire page of its website to the levels of diversity or demographics in various sectors—the U.S. as a whole, the tech industry, the advertising industry, Blue State itself—complete with bar graphs and pie charts. [11]

Blue State purports to “hasten progress” through its consulting work and showcases a number of center-left progressive projects it has worked on including the Freedom to Marry organization, a nonprofit founded in 2003 to advocate for same-sex marriage, Coalition to Protect America’s Health, and Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign. [12]

Blue State has performed data migration for United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), fundraising for Doctors Without Borders, communications and product development for Public Wise, media and video work for BlueGreen Alliance, media relations and creative work for Detention Watch Network, brand strategy and design for Elizabeth Warren for President, and fundraising and content creation for UK for UNHCR. [13]

Other clients of Blue State’s over the years have included the New York City Campaign Finance Board, Covenant House, We Demand More, Democracy Defense Coalition, ProsperUS, Nesta, Michelle Wu for Mayor, Warren Democrats, FOUR PAWS, the Trustees of Reservations, Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE), World Food Program USA, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, Amnesty International, Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP), AARP, UNICEF, Google Take Action, Teach for America, Sierra Club, NAACP, and Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns. [14]

Grassroots Mobilization Partners

Blue State has a “grassroots mobilization” program that aims to “spark and build grassroots movement that lead to lasting change.” Partners of this program have included AARP, America’s Health Care, Coalition to Protect America’s Health, Equality Now, Freedom to Marry, GiveGreen, Google Take Action, HOPE Not Hate, It Gets Better Project, the Labour Party, NAACP, Obama for America, and Sierra Club. [15]

Positions

Blue State maintains a Twitter account, from which it posts left-progressive messaging on issues such as abortion, race, and class. [16]

On its website Blue State has a guide on how to be “anti-racist” which claims that “Being antiracist isn’t a one-time act. It’s a continuation of unlearning, relearning, educating, and repeating.” [17]  Blue State claims that “white supremacy and racism” hold a “tight grasp” on American society and continuously cause “racial violence against Black lives and Black LGBTQ+ lives.” [18]

The page features a quote from Bellamy Shoffner, “social equity writer” and creator of the anti-racism advocacy outfit Revolutionary Humans on the need to teach critical race theory to children. [19] Blue State provides a series of links it refers to as its “Anti-Racism Resources,” including a link to “Racial Justice Bookshelf,” an online bookstore featuring books by Stacey Abrams, Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation co-founders Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ibram X. Kendi, revolutionary pan-Africanist Marxist Walter Rodney, Marxist scholar Angela Davis, the late radical-left historian Howard Zinn, Robin DiAngelo, and several environmentalist authors. [20]

Funding

Blue State has an estimated annual revenue of $42.9 million, according to corporate analyst Datanyze. [21]

Blue State has made financial contributions to Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential campaign, DNC Services Corp, EMILY’s List, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), Planned Parenthood Votes, Moveon.org, and dozens of other entities. [22]

Leadership

As of June 2022, Blue State did not have a staff page on its website. According WayBack Machine screen captures, Blue State seems to not have had a staff page since 2015. At that time, the organization was led by CEO and co-founder Joe Rospars. [23]

Rospars’ LinkedIn page and a biography page on Blue State’s website indicates that as of June 2022 he remained the CEO of the firm. [24] [25] He formerly worked as the internet director of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) from 2005 to 2006, the new media director on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign from 2007 to 2009, the chief digital strategist of Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign from 2011 to 2013, and as the chief strategist of Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential campaign from December 2018 to March 2020. [26]

Before Rospars was involved with the Obama campaign, he worked with Governor Howard Dean (D-VT) on a number of projects such as the founding of Blue State Digital and Democracy for America to Dean’s “50 State Strategy” at the DNC when Dean was elected chairman in 2005.[27]  Rospars was named by Rolling Stone as one of their “100 People Who Are Changing America” in March 2009 and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and Bloomberg as well as in the Washington Post, TIME, WIRED, and Politico. [28] [29]

In March 2014, Blue State’s other co-founder, Jascha Franklin-Hodge, was serving as chief technology officer. [30] As of June 2022, Franklin-Hodge was the “Chief of Streets” for the City of Boston; he left Blue State in July 2014 to become the chief information officer for Boston City. [31]

References

  1. “Who We Are.” Blue State. 1 July 2022. https://www.bluestate.co/who-we-are/. ^
  2. “Offices.” Blue State. Accessed 1 July 2022. https://www.bluestate.co/offices/. ^
  3. “About – Blue State.” LinkedIn. Accessed 29 June 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/company/blue-state/about/. ^
  4. “Obama 2008.” Blue State. Accessed 1 Jul 2022. https://www.bluestate.co/case-studies/obama-for-america-2008/. ^
  5. “Obama 2008.” Blue State. Accessed 1 Jul 2022. https://www.bluestate.co/case-studies/obama-for-america-2008/. ^
  6.  “WPP Digital acquires Blue State Digital, LLC.” WPP, 30 December 2010. Accessed 1 July 2022. https://www.wpp.com/news/2010/12/wpp-digital-acquires-blue-state-digital-llc. ^
  7. “About – Blue State.” LinkedIn. Accessed 29 June 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/company/blue-state/about/. ^
  8. “Blue State Digital Company Profile.” Datanyze. Accessed 1 July 2022. https://www.datanyze.com/companies/blue-state-digital/8094938. ^
  9. “About – Blue State.” LinkedIn. Accessed 29 June 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/company/blue-state/about/. ^
  10. “Who We Are.” Blue State. 1 July 2022. https://www.bluestate.co/who-we-are/. ^
  11.  “Diversity.” Blue State. 1 July 2022. https://www.bluestate.co/diversity/. ^
  12. Home. Blue State. Accessed 29 June 2022. https://www.bluestate.co/. ^
  13. [1] “Case Studies.” Blue State. Accessed 29 June 2022. https://www.bluestate.co/case-studies/. Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20220629195123/https://www.bluestate.co/case-studies/ ^
  14. “Case Studies.” Blue State. Accessed 29 June 2022. https://www.bluestate.co/case-studies/. Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20220629195123/https://www.bluestate.co/case-studies/ ^
  15. “Grassroots Mobilization.” Blue State. Accessed 29 June 2022. https://www.bluestate.co/capabilities/grassroots-mobilization/ ^
  16.  Blue State. Twitter, 24 June 2022. Accessed 29 June 2022. https://twitter.com/bluestate/status/1540428823677865984. ^
  17. “Home.” Blue State. Accessed 1 July 2022. https://www.bluestate.co/. ^
  18.  “Anti-Racism Resources – Blue State.” Blue State. Accessed 1 July 2022. Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20220701191051/https://www.bluestate.co/anti-racism-resources/. ^
  19. “Bellamy (Lauren Dillard) Shoffner.” LinkedIn. Accessed 1 July 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauren-dillard/. ^
  20. “Racial Justice Bookshelf.” RacialJusticeBookshelf.com. Accessed 1 July 2022. Archived: https://web.archive.org/web/20220701190540/https://www.racialjusticebookshelf.com/. ^
  21. “Blue State Digital Company Profile.” Datanyze. Accessed 1 July 2022. https://www.datanyze.com/companies/blue-state-digital/8094938. ^
  22. “Vendor/Recipient Profile: Blue State Digital.” OpenSecrets. Accessed 1 July 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/campaign-expenditures/vendor?cycle=2020&vendor=Blue+State+Digital. ^
  23. “Meet Our Leadership.” Blue State Digital, 5 September 2015. Accessed 29 June 2022. Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20150905145801/https://www.bluestatedigital.com/staff. ^
  24. “Joe Rospars.” Bluestate.co. Accessed 29 June 2022. https://www.bluestate.co/joe-rospars/. ^
  25. “Joe Rospars.” LinkedIn. Accessed 29 June 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/rospars/. ^
  26. “Joe Rospars.” LinkedIn. Accessed 29 June 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/rospars/. ^
  27. [1] “Joe Rospars.” Bluestate.co. Accessed 29 June 2022. https://www.bluestate.co/joe-rospars/ ^
  28. “Rolling Stone’s version of “Who is Changing America.” Rolling Stone, 19 March 2009. Accessed 29 June 2022. https://www.politico.com/blogs/anneschroeder/0309/Rolling_Stones_version_of_Who_is_Changing_America.html. ^
  29. “Joe Rospars.” Bluestate.co. Accessed 29 June 2022. https://www.bluestate.co/joe-rospars/. ^
  30. “Meet our leadership.” Blue State Digital, 11 March 2014. Accessed 29 June 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20140311180335/http://www.bluestatedigital.com/staff/#. ^
  31. “Jascha Franklin-Hodge – Experience.” LinkedIn. Accessed 30 June 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jascha/details/experience/. ^
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Blue State

41 Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217