Political candidates and parties rely heavily on political advertising to spread their message and appeal to the voters directly or indirectly. A political advertisement can be help campaigns in a number of ways, from helping raise your profile, to helping you raise more money. However, there are a lot of elements of a political campaign, so we’ve highlighted some key features that will make your ad stand out.
What is Political Advertising?
A Political ad is a paid advertisement or mass communication to influence voters. The mediums used in modern-day political advertising are:
- Displays and billboards
- Newspaper ads
- Social media advertisement
- Radio and television ads
Components of Political Advertising
A political ad is only effective if it can sway voters and convince them to support or vote against a candidate. There are five key components in an effective political ad.
1. Ad Copy
The text you will be using in the political ad plays a vital role in sharing your main message with the public. The amount of copy you use may vary dramatically, depending on what medium or format you use. It’s always a good idea to test different versions of an ad copy to see which one best resonates with your target audience.
While you can always run ads on the radio, most ways to reach voters involve at least some visual component. You can hire a creative team to use a combination of audio and video to make appealing ads.
3. Your Campaign Logo
Having a good logo can help your campaign develop an identity in the eyes of the voters. If you have one, it should be part of all your political ad campaigns. This will help you raise public awareness and show consistency across your political campaign marketing materials.
4. Call-to-Action (CTA)
If you’re creating a quality ad that catches the voter’s attention, it’s always good to give them something to do next. By putting in a call-to-action, you can often make voters into more active participants in the campaign. For instance, you can ask them to visit your campaign’s website, click on a link to make donations, attend your next speech, or just remind them to get out and cast their ballots.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) and many state and local regulatory agencies require political candidates and parties to include disclosures or disclaimers in their ads. The exact disclosures you need to make will vary depending on the level of office and the governing agency, so make sure you’re aware of all regulations at the outset.
Best Practices for Political Advertising
Now that we understand the basic components in a political ad, it’s time to look at how to construct your message and how to best reach your voters.
1. A Clear Message Goes a Long Way
A short, simple message can often be much more effective than a long, complicated one. Create a memorable slogan or an emotional message that will stick with voters.
Reagan’s 1984 “Morning in America” is a prime example of a political ad with a clear and powerful message. The ad features optimistic Americans going to work, as a calm narrator talks about the improvements to the economy under Reagan. From the script to the visuals, everything in the ad conveys the idea that life has been improved and that people should maintain this optimism by voting for Reagan.
2. Invoking Voters’ Emotions
Emotionally centered political advertising is far more effective than a rational appeal. By appealing to your voters’ emotions, you’ll be able to create a connection to your audience. Connecting with your audience, making it clear you share their fears and aspirations, can really help your message stick with the electorate.
3. Master the Art of Storytelling
Your political ad can be in the form of a story. Good storytelling can invoke the audience’s emotions and help you make a stronger connection with voters. If you can win their sympathy or if you show that you sympathize with them, you’ll be in a better position to influence their behavior and win their vote.
Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign ad “Me, Maya, and Mom” is a great example of emotional storytelling as she shares the story of her upbringing, and transitions to make it relatable to the audience by talking about concerns that she and other Americans have.
4. Transparency and Valuable Information
An effective political ad must leave the audience or voter more informed than they already were. An informative political ad can help the voter understand your campaign and the issues you really care about. This will make your audience feel empowered as they will have enough knowledge of who they are supporting and why.
5. Use Focus Groups and A/B Testing
If you have the means to conduct A/B testing, this is a great way to narrow down what resonates with your votes. Using the A/B testing method, you choose two messages and present them to select audiences. Based on their reactions, you can determine which political advertising receives the most attention from the public. Pick the best performer and run with it.
6. Choose a Political Advertising Agency
Working with a political advertising agency can help you as they will conduct comprehensive research into what your voters and supporters would love to hear. Based on this information, they will be able to create a political ad campaign that resonates with constituents’ emotions, needs, and struggles.
If you are a political candidate or a party, choosing the right elements and appeals can help you create an effective political ad. However, if you want to get it right the first time, collaborating with a political marketing and advertising agency can be a savior for your run in the upcoming elections. Aristotle’s comprehensive Campaign Manager Software will help you manage and collect data during every step of your campaign. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you run an effective and successful campaign.