Lori Lightfoot campaign

From underdog to mayor

How we helped Lori Lightfoot become the mayor of Chicago with smarter programmatic strategies.


When Lori Lightfoot launched her campaign to be mayor of Chicago, she was the underdog of all underdogs. The first openly lesbian candidate to run for the city’s mayoralty, she was also comparatively short on funds.

The Lightfoot campaign was being outspent by opponents nearly 6:1 on TV ads and, by the end of the first election round, the campaign only had 3.5% of all ads airing.

The team needed a smart way to cut through the noise of the other candidates and use new technologies and big data to their advantage.


We decided to take the imbalance in TV spend and use it to benefit the Lightfoot campaign. We used 1:1 TV data to identify and segment online voter audiences that were exposed to ads from both the Lightfoot ads and the opponents’ ads, so we could follow up with digital ads promoting the campaign’s key messages.

We also used 1:1 TV retargeting to reach users who’d seen her opponents ads with display and pre-roll video to make sure the Lightfoot campaign stayed top-of-mind even when they were seeing opposition ads.


Despite being an underdog and being dramatically outspent, Lori Lightfoot pulled off a feat few thought possible.

She won the election in a 76%-24% landslide, using data in the most effective and innovative way possible, to become the first openly-gay African-American woman to be elected mayor of any major city in the US.