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Campaign Ads Affect the Few
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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No one can challenge the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Citizen's United changed the game on how money can be used by political candidates (note: we know it wasn't the ruling itself, by how in the ruling a precedent was set). The aftermath resulted in a tidal wave of money for political advertising, the most that our society has ever seen. And it is not even September yet.

Much debate has been going on about the money in political advertising. Is it going to affect the election? It is possible, for many people follow the incumbency rule, the rule that odds usually favor the incumbent because they can raise money for advertising easier than the challenger. In this year's presidential election, that rule has been tossed out the window. The Romney campaign has consistently out-fundraised Obama, and the GOP side has more money waiting on the sidelines in case Obama catches up.

Does it really matter? AYTM surveyed a panel of citizens and out of the group, 52% already know who they're voting for, 27% don't plan to vote, and 22% plan to vote but are undecided. And although 42% said that campaign advertisements impacted their voting decision, 78% said that they did not believe what the campaign ads are saying.

The fight is always for the undecided. AYTM's findings pointed out that undecided voters were not only more likely to say that the campaign ads impacted their decision-making, but they were also less likely to research the information that the campaign ads said.

Though some don't want to admit it, the process is similar in regular advertising. Advertising is meant to influence the decisions of those who are unsure about the current brands they have and may want to try something different. Or, advertising can persuade people to continue to stick with the brand because of the experiences they have shared together. Yes, political advertising does go negative quite quickly, and though effective, the public still disapproves. The people behind the political ads are following an outline similar to our own.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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