A Question For The Experts

 

A quick question for the politicians, the professional experts like Mike Murphy, and the political junkies in the Ricochet universe:

As someone who spends most of the time on the road and finally has a bit of time to watch television, I have to ask, are political ads designed to entice viewers to jam railroad spikes in their ears? It seems that I see the same ads at least 117 times per hour. From what I can tell, all of these nefarious candidates have engaged in every diabolical act except the sinking of the Lusitania and there is some conjecture about that. Are voters really deemed to have the IQ of bread mold?

There are 16 comments.

  1. Nick Stuart Inactive

    And for some strange reason, the bad guys are always in black & white, while the good guys are in warm, saturated, color.

    • #1
    • October 30, 2010, at 3:26 AM PDT
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  2. Dave Carter Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author

    Cas, thanks but no thanks on the hot dog, …I just had a bar of soap. So far, 100% of the responses to my question seem to agree on the appeal to stupidity in these ads. Which begs the question, why insult the intelligence of the electorate in the first place?

    • #2
    • October 30, 2010, at 4:15 AM PDT
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  3. Jerry Carroll Inactive

    These ads are directed at the know-nothing voters, also known as “independents.” Under normal circumstances they don’t begin paying attention to political campaigns until the final days or last hours. As they have neither the time nor inclination to do any intellectual labor on the subject, the best way to reach them is through emotion. When CGI advances a bit more you will see candidates clubbing baby seals to death close enough to voting day that their denials will be too little and too late.

    • #3
    • October 30, 2010, at 4:33 AM PDT
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  4. Publius Inactive

    The other end of the spectrum are local election campaigns where there is little or no information available on the candidates. Some mailer from a candidate that tells me she’s running for school board because she likes children, puppies, and thinks that education is swell tells me nothing.

    Providing quality information to voters is something that the local news media has long since abandoned, so I tend to leave entire sections of the ballot blank rather than vote for someone horrible.

    This year is a bit of an exception here in New Jersey. I had no earthy idea who to vote for in regards to my county freeholders (we have swarms upon swarms of elected officials here in New Jersey. Learn from us or you will become us.), but I received a flyer in the mail that had a picture of Chris Christie standing with the Republican candidates. Endorsements normally don’t mean anything to me, but I’m so happy that Christie is actually governing that I’ll vote for these people. I’m sure they’re horrible, but I’ll win one for the Christie.

    • #4
    • October 30, 2010, at 5:01 AM PDT
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  5. The Mugwump Inactive

    My take is that the quality (or lack thereof) of political ads reflects on a candidate’s character. It’s not that voters are stupid. The problem is that voters have never been trained to discriminate on the basis of character. The base instincts of our political class only reflect the vices behind their motivations.

    • #5
    • October 30, 2010, at 5:19 AM PDT
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  6. cdor Member

    Dave, there is something that was invented about 6 years ago. You were no doubt rounding a bend on Route 66. It was originally called TIVO. It’s generic name is DVR or HDDVR. A one hour TV show takes 35 minutes to watch. Einstein would have been impressed. TV sans commercials.

    • #6
    • October 30, 2010, at 5:33 AM PDT
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  7. Cas Balicki Inactive

    It’s pretty bad when you’d rather listen to rap than a political ad. And, Dave, easy on the bread mold! You just insulted the entire contents of my refrigerator, save the mustard, on which mold doesn’t grow, thank God! Hot dog any one?

    • #7
    • October 30, 2010, at 9:38 AM PDT
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  8. Paladin Inactive
    Dave Carter: Are voters really deemed to have the IQ of bread mold? ·

    Yes, yes they are. The secret is to find an obscure quote from the candidate, take it out of context and blow it completely out of proportion. Popular themes this election cycle seem to be:

    -if the candidate mentioned something about a VAT (usually as a replacement for current income tax or if the current tax was replaced with a flat tax) then candidate X is going to raise taxes by 23% on everything you buy! BABY FOOD! GAS! SCHOOL SUPPLIES! 23% HIGHER!

    – if the candidate mentioned (most likely inevitable) reforms to social security or medicare then candidate X is going to steal the retirement you worked so hard for and leave the elderly dying in ditches.-anything about immigration reform turns into candidate X wants to round up anyone not white and put them into a concentration camp.

    It seems like taking things so far out of context and representing them as true opinions/positions seems to be libelous, but what do I know? I’m just some guy.

    • #8
    • October 30, 2010, at 9:47 AM PDT
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  9. FeliciaB Inactive

    Oh yeah!

    • #9
    • October 30, 2010, at 9:48 AM PDT
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  10. MBF Member
    MBF

    Hi Dave, I absolutely love your posts. I know exactly what you mean about the irritating political ads. This ad from Ron Johnson, who is about to defeat Russ Feingold, is one of my favorites. Its simple, informative (57 lawyers?!), and not annoying.

    • #10
    • October 30, 2010, at 10:26 AM PDT
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  11. Jaydee_007 Inactive
    Dave Carter:

    Are voters really deemed to have the IQ of bread mold? ·

    When you consider that voters sent that crowd to Washington D.C. in the first place, why wouldn’t you come to such a conclusion.

    • #11
    • October 30, 2010, at 10:39 AM PDT
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  12. Dave Roy Inactive

    I’m very quick on the draw with the “mute” button or the “find a new hockey game instead” button on my remote.

    So I haven’t seen more than a few seconds of a political ad for years, unless it’s something being analyzed on Hannity or some other show.

    And I like it that way.

    • #12
    • October 30, 2010, at 11:15 AM PDT
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  13. ManBearPig Member

    ReasonTV has a great video and some great articles about attack ads. The attack ads of the 1800’s were ruthless AND personal. Obviously they didn’t have the same frequency as they do now, but the volume was much louder!

    The video is pretty good:

    http://reason.com/blog/2010/10/29/attack-ads-circa-1800

    • #13
    • October 31, 2010, at 2:57 AM PDT
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  14. FeliciaB Inactive
    Mark Belling Fan: Hi Dave, I absolutely love your posts. I know exactly what you mean about the irritating political ads. This ad from Ron Johnson, who is about to defeat Russ Feingold, is one of my favorites. Its simple, informative (57 lawyers?!), and not annoying. · Oct 29 at 10:26pm

    What a great ad!

    Ryan Gaines: ReasonTV has a great video and some great articles about attack ads. The attack ads of the 1800’s were ruthless AND personal. Obviously they didn’t have the same frequency as they do now, but the volume was much louder!

    The video is pretty good:

    http://reason.com/blog/2010/10/29/attack-ads-circa-1800 · Oct 30 at 2:57pm

    Fabulous use of scurrilous words! Too bad political correctness has made us tidy up the name calling. <snicker, snicker>

    • #14
    • October 31, 2010, at 3:16 AM PDT
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  15. Kennedy Smith Inactive

    One thing to bear in mind is that not all campaign consultants are “experts” any more than most business consultants are experts. With the number of contested races this year, the vast majority of campaign directors suck, just like the vast majority of politicians aren’t particularly good at politics.

    Notably Harry Reid.

    So the politicians get in front of the camera and embarrass themselves, and the campaigns blow wads of cash on ineffective ads.

    Frank Luntz had a good article on this today. Which, um, I can’t find.

    • #15
    • October 31, 2010, at 7:19 AM PDT
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  16. Profile Photo Member

    Dave, Congratulations. You are on your way to a degree in Marketing. Eons ago during my MBA training, a professor encouraged us to “reverse engineer” advertisements. The idea was that ads are expensive and ad designers have to understand who and what an advertiser thinks his audience is. Ex. BMW ads offer performance, Cadillac offers luxury, Chevy offers value, etc. Or dog food ads offer nutritional info, cat food ads offer “chow, chow, chow” and dancing cats. In either case it tells you what the advertiser thinks are the critical characteristics in the audience to which they want to appeal.

    In that vein, ask yourself, who are the pols whose ads feature uncritical, unanalytical, fear-based messages? Who are the pols whose ads feature critical, thoughtful, position-based messages?

    I think your intuitive observation just about nails it.

    • #16
    • November 1, 2010, at 2:39 AM PDT
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