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An Open Letter to PoliLand, From AdLand
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Dear Jim Messina and Matt Rhoades:

AdLand here. We're hope you two are well. 

First, we would like to tell you that we appreciate your dedication to public service. Politics has gotten a negative rap, and we thank you two for sticking with it and pushing the national dialogue about which set of ideas will shape America's future.

Second, we would like to take a brief moment to talk with you two about how you're pushing that dialogue.

Look, we know that neither of you have backgrounds in advertising. You, Messina, have a degree in political science, and you, Rhoades, have a Master's in Public Affairs; that's okay. We would be more troubled to see this kind of advertising going on if you both had experience.

The thing is, too many people associate political advertising with advertising in general. On a mass scale, it is way too difficult to explain the nuances of political speech vs. commercial speech to the regular voter. With civics and general knowledge about constitutionally protected speech at their lowest levels ever, people simply do not understand the wiggle-room political advertisements have and the strict regulations that pervade our commercial realm.

Simply put, your stink is making us stink. So here's the remedy: we have a few recommendations in regards to your political advertising.

1. Collaborate and stop the negative ads.
We know. "No way in hell," right? But here's our reason. Although fear is one of the biggest motivators, it doesn't motivate any of your populace to learn more. And though negative ads are the most effective in choosing a candidate, it leaves an extremely sour taste in the mouths of voters. Making a stand to run only positive ads will not only create a more informed populace and a more intelligent conversation, but it will also lead the way towards a more welcoming environment for election season.

Unless you don't want that.

2. Clean up the content.
A piggyback of the first recommendation: as the population gets smarter, the ads will have to rely on the reality of situations. Our brands and organizations have been getting penalized for false claims. As the voters begin to look more into what you two are saying, your penalty, unless you both clean up your ads, will be lost votes.

3. Please Hire More AdFolks.
If the previous two are completely ignored, at least follow this one. Messina, Rhoades, we're putting this gently: your ads are awful. Not one of your campaign strategists or co-chairs seem to have a decent enough background in creative or advertising to create ads that appeal or that can even be stomached. And if you do use advertising consultants, hire more, or pay them more. Hire interns. Do something different. Please. Pretty please.

Messina and Rhoades, as you (or maybe your newly hired advertising interns) read this, you may come to this conclusion: this isn't about you, it's about AdLand. Helping you two out will help us out.

So lock it up and stop making advertising look so awful.

Yours in Advertising,


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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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