Let’s talk about the elephant (or donkey) in the room. Not Trump or Clinton, per se, but political ads. Mostly the fact that even though we all hate them, they’re flooding our TVs/News Feeds/grey matters right now. But advertisers can actually learn a lot from political ads. Especially what NOT to do. With that, welcome to Political Advertising Worst Practices 101.
Lesson 1: Stop the negative campaigns.
Yes, negative ads have been shown to be more memorable. But according to a comprehensive literature analysis published by the Journal of Politics, negative ads don’t actually affect voter choices. In fact, they degrade the public’s regard for candidates and the electoral process as a whole. It’s enough to make you blush.
Lesson 2: Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
Regardless of which political side you’re on, it’s hard not to cringe at Donald Trump’s RNC speech comment that he’ll end crime and violence. That’s like promising your skin cream will “significantly reduce customers’ body size.” (Sigh, if only.) Or that POM Wonderful can help you “cheat death.”
Lesson 3: Don’t lie.
Even though it’s somehow legal for politicians to lie in their campaign ads, it still doesn’t mean you should. Because lying lessens public trust in politicians and hurts candidates in the long run (SEE: re-election attempts). And while deceptive advertising in the consumer world is illegal, you still see it too often, leading to lawsuits and consumer mistrust.
Lesson 4: Please stop pandering.
It’s like when McDonald’s tried to relate to a younger audience by using a popular phrase (at the time) in an ad that said “Double Cheeseburger? I’d hit it.” Yuck, MickeyDees.
So take it from Senator Robert C. Byrd: “Do not run a campaign that would embarrass your mother.” (Maybe he should have taken his own advice.)
-Your non-partisan friends at Brokaw.