The Necessary Evil of Advertising in Politics

When it starts to get closer to election season most people can’t wait for it to be over so they don’t have to see the political advertisements anymore. Whether they are on television, radio, or the internet, they are everywhere. The interesting part of this is that statistically most people have already made up their mind for who they are going to vote for in the weeks leading up to Election Day, so when you stop and think about it those millions of dollars on advertisements are really spent on the five to eight percent of the country who is still “undecided.”

Even though I can understand peoples’ frustration with seeing these advertisements (and I too start to feel that way when I have seen the same one over and over again) I am not one of the people who hates them, mainly because I can see their purpose. I am definitely not trying to hide that I am strongly towards one side of the aisle, which is why from the campaign’s perspective I can see why they are so valuable. These political advertisements are valuable in the sense that they allow a campaign to try and keep up with attacks on the other side. In a way I see advertisements as kind of “just trying to stay above water” kind of game. If one candidate has a multitude of attack ads circulating in one particular area the repetition is going to have a noticeable effect on the voting habits of the  people who constantly see them.. Therefore in order to keep up the other candidate is going to need to put equally “effective” advertisements in the same media markets.

I think that this draws a direct parallel to the role that advertising plays in all media – if you don’t keep up the price to pay will be high. Whether that price is a loss of sponsorship or a loss of the election.

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