Lessons Learned from the Political Advertising Season


(By Rick Fink) I think I can speak for the entire U.S. population when I say, “Thank goodness it’s FINALLY over!” Even our Canadian friends, I’m sure, are tired of hearing all the negativity, bickering, and hogwash. The only good thing I can think of, besides the extra revenue, is that there are a few things we can learn from political advertising.

First, we need to understand that it’s a different beast. It’s not just branding nor is it just direct response advertising…it’s a combination of both. Long gone are the days of shaking hands and kissing babies. Today, it’s all about mudslinging, name-calling, twisting the truth, and “he said/she said” propaganda!

But one lesson that can and should be learned from GOOD political campaigns is that they have a STRATEGY! All GREAT advertising campaigns, whether for products, services, or politics, start with GREAT strategies. They absolutely know what they want to be “known for” and what they want to “accomplish” with their advertising and marketing.

We may not like their strategy, but in the political advertising and marketing world, it works. I refer to it as “Negative Repositioning”, and it plays on the FEAR emotion. To make it work, it takes two things: lots of money and a lack of moral conscience! And in the political advertising world, all normal rules and ethics seem to be tossed out the window.

What is Negative Repositioning? It’s simply a way to get you to vote AGAINST someone rather than voting FOR their candidate. It’s not necessarily to get you to like Candidate A over Candidate B, but rather to DISLIKE one more than the other. Keep in mind, neither of the candidates is going to be put on a shelf in a store where you can go in and buy one or the other… it’s a vote.  In the political world, the vote is all that matters. WARNING: “Negative Repositioning” should never be used to market a product or service!

The lesson you can learn from the political advertising seasons is how vital “Strategy” is in your marketing campaign. Know what your clients want to be “known for”, then write ad campaigns that speak to that!

Thanks for reading, and know that we won’t be talking politics for another two years! TGIO!

If you would like to learn more about how to create effective strategies and write better ad campaigns, let me know, and we’ll talk!

NEVER Stop Learning – Get Better Every Day!

Rick Fink from ENS Media (www.ensmediausa.com) can be reached by phone at 605-310-2062 or e-mail at [email protected]


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