Do conventional advertising principles apply to political advertising campaigns? Should political brands be treated differently from regular brands?
Yes, I believe conventional advertising principles do apply by and large. Keep the message single minded, look to make an emotional connection with the electorate, give compelling supporting reasons to believe and entertain!
The advertising industry and marketers alike have come to a common understanding that the consumer has evolved. But have voters evolved?
Absolutely. Certainly in the West they have become incredible cynical. Equally, there is a lot of voter inertia. By that I mean that once voting habits have been established they are difficult to change. Much like loyalty to a particular brand.
If you were to look at voters as consumers, how would you segment them. What would be the characteristics of these different segments and what kind of political advertising would they respond to?
Building on my answer above, fundamentally, they divide in to die-hard loyalists and floaters who can still be persuaded. These segments can then be cross-referenced against demographic measures.
Now that you have segmented the typical voter and defined his/her characteristics, do you believe that current political ad campaigns cater constructively to the appetite of voters?
To a certain extent, political ad campaigns are different by market. In this respect there are important cultural norms at play. For example, in the US, with their vast financial resources behind them, the campaigns are typically aggressively competitive and personal. This is also true to a degree in the UK. However, British sensibilities mean that ‘consumers’ (voters) are actively put off if campaigns are seen to overstep the mark. Generally speaking, though, I would suggest that comparative and attack advertising should focus on policy not personality.
As is evident from the run up to the forthcoming presidential elections in the US, social media has emerged as an all important platform to fight out the war of the words. What defines a great social media campaign for elections?
Responding in real time. The upside of social media is that it is immediate. The flip side is that if there isn’t an immediate response or reaction to a particular issue this can work against the politician.
What about negative ads? Do people secretly enjoy them?
One of the ‘rules’ of consumer advertising is to concentrate on the positive. For example, avoid having words such as ‘not’ in the headline. If you are going to run negative ads they have to be especially clever.
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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2013
An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).
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