Election 2016: Campaign Advertising Techniques

The race for the White House is heating up, with primary voting just around the corner. With that, comes more debating and campaigning, in an effort to capture votes.

From TV to social media, candidates and their campaign staff are working extra hard to get their message out before voters head to the polls. Let's take a look at some of the techniques that are considered when making a political ad.


WE’RE JUST A FEW WEEKS AWAY FROM THE IOWA CAUCUS AND THE NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY, WHICH WILL OFFICIALLY KICK OFF THE 2016 ELECTION YEAR. OF THE TWO MAJOR PARTIES, WHICH ARE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY – THERE ARE ‘15’ CONTENDERS FOR THE WHITE HOUSE. TWELVE REPUBLICANS AND THREE DEMOCRATS.

FROM DEBATES – TO TELEVISION ADS AND EVEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA, WE’RE SEEING THESE FACES ‘A LOT’.
MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ARE SPENT ON TELEVISION, RADIO AND DIGITAL ADVERTISING TO HELP CANDIDATES GET THEIR MESSAGE OUT – LETS TAKE A LOOK AT SOME COMMON ADVERTISING TECHNIQUES.

THE FIRST: MUDSLINGING OR "NEGATIVE" CAMPAIGNING. MUCH LIKE IT SOUNDS, THIS APPROACH IS USED TO CAST AN OPPONENT IN A NEGATIVE WAY. THIS CAN INVOLVE NAME CALLING OR ACCUSATIONS, AND IT’S BEEN A COMMON COMPONENT IN OUR ELECTIONS FOR DECADES.

OTHER POLITICIANS MIGHT USE THE BANDWAGON TECHNIQUE. THIS TYPE OF AD TRIES TO CONVINCE A VIEWER TO JOIN AN ALREADY GROWING GROUP. IT GENERALLY PORTRAYS A SENSE OF MOMENTUM, OR SUCCESS.

ANOTHER COMMON APPROACH BY CAMPAIGNS — THE PLAIN FOLK TECHNIQUE. THIS IS WHEN CANDIDATES TRY TO REPRESENT THEMSELVES AS A NORMAL, EVERYDAY PERSON TO MAKE THEMSELVES MORE RELATABLE. 

SO WHETHER IT’S ON YOUR TV, YOUR SMART PHONE, OR YOUR COMPUTER — THESE ARE JUST A FEW OF MANY TECHNIQUES CANDIDATES MIGHT USE TO CAPTURE THE ATTENTION OF VOTERS.

Now we’ve got a challenge for you. Put yourself in the shoes of a campaign manager. If you were tasked with creating a campaign ad for your candidate, which advertising technique would you use – Mudslinging, Bandwagon or Plain Folk. After you vote in our survey, let us know why you voted for the technique and why you think it would be effective. We're giving bonus points to those of you who can give us an example of how you would use the advertising technique as a campaign manager.

Instructional Links

Lesson Plan: C-Span in the Classroom, Lesson Idea: Election Campaign Ads

http://www.c-spanclassroom.org/Lesson/851/Lesson+Idea+2012+Election+Campaign+Ads.aspx

Activity: You Be the Judge, Cyberchase Activity

http://ideastream.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/a3447a50-c1d0-481c-aca7-f5648df1bc3e/you-be-the-judge-cyberchase-activity/

PDF: ReadWriteThink, Persuasive Techniques in Advertising

http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson1166/PersuasiveTechniques.pdf

Interactive Website: Federal Trade Commission, West Terrace, Advertising

http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/games/off-site/youarehere/site.html#/west-terrace

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