Political Ads

The Best Political Ad Campaigns

When it comes to gathering support for a political campaign, arguably the most successful method is video advertisements. Since the advent of television, internet, and of course the smartphone, politicians have utilized video ads to mobilize entire marketing campaigns, especially at the presidential level. In just a few minutes or less, Americans can receive a dose of inspiration from a candidate they’ve never heard of. Likewise, in such a short clip, reputations can be empowered or shattered overnight.

Because we’re so connected to our devices, candidates on both the local and national stages are placing more emphasis than ever on sending their messages through political ads. The presidential campaign of 2016 was no exception. Let’s take a look at some of the best political ad campaigns, and what methods were utilized for their succession.

Establishing Connection

In what seemed to be a sea of negative political ads and election commercials featuring candidates trying so hard to “be” something or tear their opponent down, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders released a wholesome one-minute ad titled “America.” With no words spoken except the Paul Simon tune in the background, ordinary citizens are featured working on farms, at the table with their family, or at work. Before long, Sanders is seen bonding with the people around America in their towns, and eventually on stage in front of cheering fans. Although Bernie Sanders didn’t win the Democratic primary, his political ads certainly made him a crowd favorite because he focused on achieving a feeling of change in the economic system. Without saying a word, the advertisement alone showed his connection with working-class Americans.

Stirring The Pot

One of the tactics used by candidates in political ads, especially in a heated race for votes, are ads that directly address competition in an attempt to redirect attention toward their opponent’s flaws. Political flaws can include “flip-flopping” or changing one’s opinion with the tide, as well as outright lying or refusing to address certain issues. During the 2016 campaign for president, Donald Trump’s campaign released an ad characterizing Florida senator Marco Rubio as a “corrupt” legislator, highlighting claims that he had spent taxpayer money for personal use. Though the ad dropped only a week before the Florida Republican primary, its effect was apparent as Trump crushed Rubio in his home state.

Similarly, in the final run for president between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Clinton launched an election advertisement titled “Mirrors” which took aim at Trump’s character toward women. In front of mirrors, young girls look at themselves while echoes of clips from Trump play in the background, each a cringe-worthy quote. The video ends by asking “Is this the president we want for our daughters?” These types of negative political ads are successful because they strike a level of fear in the viewer, motivating them to vote against whatever the election advertisement paints as “the enemy.” If used correctly, the method of negative political ads can be astounding, especially when used in conjunction with a timely event or report.

Celebrity Endorsement

Accepting the help of a celebrity never hurts in the marketing world, and in the case of 2016, Ted Cruz utilized a powerful influencer in his ad titled “Cruz Commander.” Understanding how much his Republican base would respect hunting in the outdoors, Cruz involved Phil Robertson from the television show Duck Dynasty to cosign his ability to lead. The ad features the two men hunting outside, firing off rifles while Phil declares Ted as “the man for the job.” Though the election advertisement is mainly an endorsement, it provides an atmosphere that elevated the viewer’s opinions of the senator. The result? A resounding victory in the Republican primaries because Ted used a familiar face in a context his audience trusted in connection with a trending topic of discussion.

Throughout the history of individuals running for the president of the United States, generating support for your campaign has always been an important facet of democracy. Once the people are united under a set of ideas communicated by their choice candidate, the vision of tomorrow becomes just a bit more clear. Whether runners choose to utilize a celebrity endorsement to cross-brand market with another base, stir the pot up with their opponents to reveal important truths, or they simply want to spread a message that resonates with average folks, these methods plus many more play a huge role in the success of presidential elections. When it comes to which political ad campaign tactic is “best,” well, that’s for history to decide.