Monday, October 22, 2012

Political Ad Observations - 2012 Edition

As someone who took multiple communication related courses during his Undergrad, I'm fascinated w/ political advertising.

My hometown is at the confluence 3 Congressional districts (2 of which are really competitive) & a few other races for the State Legislature. So I'm exposed to the broadcast advertising. I've noticed a few things.

We're all used to listening to the sinister, creepy, Scooby-Doo music if its an attack ad or the light, stringed or sentimental piano music if its a support ad. But I've noticed a change, the change being the source material.

For instance an attack ad could by running "Candidate X voted to increase your taxes by a whopping 55%" followed in tiny print stating something like "HR 1139-2019". Whereas others (particularly coming from any of the mysteriously named patriotic SuperPACs), will lay a claim to something "Candidate Y is in bed w/ (insert the National candidate of your choice) & has pledge to take away your Social Security. Are you going to stand for this?!"

I've noticed the more competitive the race is, the more likely the ads will respond to each other. "Candidate Y has claimed I bought a summer home in some foreign country. I want you to know that was a complete lie. I went to said foreign country because it was a fact-finding trip promoting the area in the hopes of creating jobs back home. While I was working hard for you, Candidate X was buying companies w/ the intent purpose of profiting from their layoffs."

I have to give Kirsten Gillibrand, my state's junior Senator, credit. Her ads alone are premised entirely on HOW she delivers her message. It just feels so enthusiastic & geniune. Of course except for the election where she unseated a 4-term incumbent back in 2006, she's won all her elections by 20 points or more & can afford to simply not acknowledge her opposition.

In other news...

This here is Shiloh.


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1 comment:

Brian said...

Yes it's always funny how all the attack ads were something along the lines of "We can't afford the Smith-Pelosi plan to give free puppy food to all Americans" or the "America can do better than the Jones-Boehner puppy hating agenda."

Gillibrand's ads were so pleasant because she was a prohibitive favorite so she didn't have to dignify any mudslinging.

But I did think it was interesting what you point out. In the past, it was a big no-no to mention accusations in the ad, even if to refute them, because it would be giving them more oxygen. I guess that conventional wisdom has changed because it's happening a lot more.