Perfection in Election Advertising
When it comes to election advertising, is there such as a thing as the “perfect political ad”? It would make sense that candidates of any level should test their marketing and election advertising before they actually begin to ensure they are hitting the mark with their target audience but most don't do it. It comes as no surprise since we see this same mistake occurring in traditional commercial marketing. Testing is important though, as there are just as many things that don't work in election advertising as there are that do.
Here are some statistics based on recent marketing and election advertising:
More than half of the more than 10k political ads run in the 2009-2010 season are a complete waste of campaign funds, and as much as 15% of those ads will do more harm to a campaign than good. It's not uncommon for an approved campaign ad to completely sink a campaign and/or alienate a portion of their audience.
Roughly (only) a third of all political ads actually create some measurable impact and resonate with a target audience in favor of the candidate.
Election Advertising – What Works?
Style in Election Advertising
It's impossible to convince skeptical Americans (the majority of voters) to stay focused on anything relating to politics for more than 30 seconds, so the first two sentences determine whether the remainder of the election advertising works. Open with a story or an intriguing hook and you have a far better chance of getting a message heard. Open with something that sounds political and Americans will immediately tune you out.
Keep the Candidate in the Message for Election Advertising
Few things (nothing really) will have a consistently positive impact more than the candidate making eye-camera contact as they describe their impact, their ideals, their vision and their mission for candidacy. When a face fills the screen, talking to you, it's extremely difficult to look away. It's like eye contact in a conversation.
Election Advertising with Rhetorical Questions
Not all candidates are good messengers and not all candidates actually have a good strong message to back them. An effective method for poking holes in an incumbents position is to ask voters if they can name accomplishments and success stories. The longer the incumbent has held office, the more chance this question has of being potentially fatal. For voters, the rhetorical question breeds the assumption that 'if you've been in office all this time but I can't think of any benefit to your service then maybe it's time for some real change'.
Election Advertising Has To Be Real
Never be fake with your election advertising. Don't edit strings of clips together to make yourself look better. Nice words that are clipped together in a studio, meant to show how great you are, can often produce a negative result. Intelligent voters will simply see this is being fake, “political” and coldly calculating with little concern for policy and even less regard or respect for the intelligence of the voters.
Negative Election Advertising Requires Some Positive
If you plan on launching a negative campaign in your election advertising then it helps to end it with something positive. It's perfectly acceptable to tell your voters and viewers what's wrong with your opponent in a quick 15 second clip but you need to switch to what should be done and you – as the candidate – should be front and center
Never Use Actors for Election Advertising.
If you need people in your ads, then get real people. Never use stand in actors. This was a staple of election advertising in the 60's and the 70's but people are more politically savvy now. They don't want to mocked or told how to think by phony actors scripted into action. Voters don't want to be puppets and they certainly don't want puppet shows over truth. If your ad includes an obvious dramatization or satirical sketch that's one thing but for truthful deliver of your message, avoid actors. If voters get the idea that you're suggesting fake actors have real opinions then you'll lose people quickly.
There's a lot more that goes into an election advertising campaign, which we'll certainly cover in future posts – especially regarding the better attributes of the candidate. Political advertising and even political campaigning is an art and a science. Use these tips to get your election advertising started in the right direction.