Everybody’s Doing It.

April 1, 2016
Brett Buerck

Political ad spending is on the rise. From TV to voter contact mail to targeted mobile advertising, campaigns are spending more than ever on the race to Election Day.

Spending alone doesn’t equal success, though. Strategy, targeting and tactics are more valuable. So is confidence, clarity and commitment.

Two competing campaigns could each spend millions in advertising. One will be confident, proactive and take the steps to define themselves and their opponent before they have a chance to do so themselves.

They’ll realize, “Everybody’s doing it,” and they’ll understand they not only need to, they need to first.

The other will be limited by fear, second-guessing and an overwhelming need to be “safe.” There will be someone in the candidate’s kitchen cabinet fretting and worrying about “attacking,” looking “mean” and “going negative.”

When their opponent stands in front of the camera, talks openly, honestly, and perhaps with humor, about the differences between the two candidates, all of a sudden that fear of going negative will become a fear of getting beat.

There’s precedent outside of the political industry for a well-honed contrast campaign. Some of these contrast ads will go down as the most memorable in history.

Take Apple and their groundbreaking contrast campaign against the PC.

Verizon’s “Can you hear me now?” contrast with Sprint and its other competitors.

Geico’s “15 minutes or less” contrast campaign against Allstate.

My guess is I didn’t even have to show you any of these ads. Just naming them was enough to bring them live again.

What made those ads work? What made them relevant and memorable? What drove their impact?

What makes a good contrast?

Let’s look at Apple’s campaign. There was no yelling. There was no dark, scary music or shrillness.

Apple’s first ad pitted Justin Long against John Hodgman. One young and hip. The other a little stodgy, a bit out-of-touch.

Apple’s ads were light-hearted and thought provoking. They took the obvious differences between the two companies and their products and presented them honestly and clearly with just a touch of humor.

That humor worked to highlight the differences, not overshadow them. Apple tapped into PC users’ frustrations, from the hardware – different power chord connections – to the software and PC users tired of trial programs.

That’s the key to a good contrast – making the differences clear, making those differences relatable and skipping the name-calling no one wants to hear anyway.

Microsoft tried to respond, but mostly fell flat. Apple had beaten them to the punch.

During our two decades in business, we’ve helped many campaigns find and draw that line between themselves and their opponent.

Humor plays a large roll in those contrasts. Take a look at some of these.

 

What do they have in common?

  • Clear distinctions between the two candidates
  • Engaging art that’s memorable
  • Humor, intriguing images and text that make the reader want to look more closely

Get started with us today, and put some distance between you and your opponent.

A well crafted contrast is the trick …

No April Fools’ there.

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