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October 30, 2014
Political Ads Are Not Inherently Evil
 
The point of advertising is to inform, remind, or persuade a prospective audience about a certain good, service, idea, or concept. As we approach the end of one of the most prolific mid-season election sessions ever, remembering the elemental concept is important.

So then why is political advertising such a big deal?

Well, it is a big deal for several reasons. The first one is an educational piece. Americans, though smart in many ways, are not the brightest in terms of local elections. Yes, Americans are victims to the things covered most — the national picture. So local politics and governments, though wanted more in some cases, are known the least. So a lot of political advertising deals with informing local citizens what judges, school board members, and county officials have voted for or represented whatever topics voters may deem important.

Second, there is an influence piece. National figureheads will gladly stump for local and regional politicians when it will serve the bigger figureheads further down the road. That's about building the coattail effect; if we "know" that the national person is going to be elected, then we might as well vote for the person they advocated.

Right?

Finally, there's a money piece. Politicians use the resources they have available to make sure that they use the right messaging, the right targeting, and the right media to make sure that they do not create any type of negative connotations.

So the ads inform the audiences necessary in order to make the right choice. Can they get annoying? Absolutely. But would you want anything different?

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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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