Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Political messaging

Getting political messaging right is a difficult thing for campaigns. They need to differentiate themselves from other campaigns, without being TOO negative. Independent committees and PACs, however, have no such worries, and this post has three recent negative messages from independent PACS that tread the line between harsh and necessary. For balance, there's also one from Hillary Clinton's campaign.

The first ad, up top, is from “Patriotic Artists and Creatives PAC”, which they sometimes refer to as “PAC2”, or simple “P2” (took me a moment to get it…). I know nothing about them, but the video above has been a mildly viral hit. I read that Carly Simon gave permission for her song “You’re So Vain” to be used, with one small word changed. As with all the ads in this post, it uses Donald’s actual words against him.

The next ad, “Playground Bully”, is from the same group, and posted a couple weeks ago:

This video uses Donald’s words through the mouths of children. This is nothing new, of course, and a New Zealand power company even made an ad using the same general idea. The New Zealand ad, obviously, had a very different intent, but it was nevertheless jarring in the same way: Hearing children say a tiny portion of the disgusting and reprehensible things that Donald says every single day.

Maybe ads using children have a place. Maybe they could make humane parents realise how disgusting and inhuman Donald is. But I still think that message was made clearer and more forcefully in the ad “Role Models” from the Clinton campaign.

Back to adults now:

This ad is from EMILY’s List, a political action committee set up to help elect more women to public office in the USA. Their “Women Can Stop Trump” campaign says:
Donald Trump has called women bimbos, dogs, and fat pigs. He wants to ban abortions, punish women who have them, and appoint anti-choice justices to the Supreme Court. If elected, he would be a nightmare for women.

Women made up 53% of voters in 2012, and if we turn out again to vote this year we can single-handedly stop Trump. Join our fight.
This is why the ad hits so hard at Donald’s sexist and misogynist statements. Women voters generally tend to favour Democrats for president, but Donald has been making that more pronounced this year, reminding women of how utterly despicable Donald is seems like a sound strategy.

Let’s end this look at anti-Donald messaging with one from the Clinton campaign, the highly-regarded “Mirrors”ad:

Like all the other ads, it uses Donald’s words against him. And it also underscores the fact that Donald is not someone we want to be president for our daughters—or our mothers, our sisters, our aunts, and also not for our sons, our fathers, our brothers, or our uncles, as Michelle Obama was saying the other day.

Independent political ads are almost always negative, which is interesting: People always claim that they hate negative ads, but clearly they don’t. If negative ads didn’t work, there wouldn’t BE any, so obviously they DO work.

So, despite what people constantly claim, they respond to negative ads, and they absorb the negative messages/images about a candidate or party. These ads aren’t merely negative, however, they quote Donald, revealing his true nature. If ads like these can help even one person realise how awful Donald is, and why he must never be allowed inside the White House even as a tourist, let alone as president, then I’d say job well done.

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