Skip to main content

View Diary: Ads losing their effectiveness (106 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  this has been evident for some time (1.50)
    The corporate world has been noticing this for awhile.  Money is still really important for organization and legitimacy.

    So the clear move here is to STOP GIVING MONEY TO KERRY and give it instead to Congressional races.

    •  hunh? (none)
      I didn't know that the "corporate world" has decided that advertising is less effective than it used to be. They certainly aren't spending any less money on it. In fact, they're spending more money on shrinking markets (the major networks).

      If the claim is that consumers are jaded...haven't they been jaded for 40 years? We've pretty much all lived with ads on TV our whole lives, so I'm not sure why it should suddenly be less effective in general.

      I made a comment below that if political ads are less effective now than they used to be (which I have no reason to doubt), it may be because people are sick of ads which patronize them. Positive ads are empty fluff, and negative ads are mean-spirited distortions. Why not try an adult ad which actually provides some considered analysis? I know it sounds crazy, but it just might work!

      (If 30-seconds is too short, try fewer 60 second ads.)

      Don't understand NY politics? Try The Nor'Easter

      by jd in nyc on Wed May 26, 2004 at 11:19:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Change the channel (none)
        The corporate world isn't spending less on advertising, no. If any one company did that, it'd be unilateral disarmament. Traditional advertising still reaches a mass audience like nothing else.

        But corporations are looking increasingly to other marketing channels, such as PR, direct and interactive marketing, to give them the edge over their competitors. Marketing machines like P&G, Unilever and Pfizer have begun investing heavily in these alternative media, and inflation in TV advertising spend has dropped off accordingly.

        The Dean campaign got it with interactive/direct marketing, and the Kerry campaign has belatedly begun taking advantage of that market, while the Bush campaign, under direct mail maven Rove, has modeled its GOTV operation on pyramid schemes like Amway.

        Anyway, advertising still counts, and you can't just cede the airwaves to the competition. You can, however, benefit from looking around for innovative ways to make a more targeted connection with your prospective consumer -- witness the Bush campaign's use of mid- to small-market radio and TV. We'll see if it proves effective in the end, but you have to give them credit for trying.

        As for the Kerry campaign, they're still just setting up offices in the battleground states. I write from Wisconsin, where the state office is just getting staffed. There's reasons for that, of course, and we've still got time. But it will take some fresh thinking at both the national and the state levels to beat the BC04 marketing machine come November.

        The people have the power / The power to dream / To rule / To wrestle the world from fools -Patti Smith

        by Septic Tank on Wed May 26, 2004 at 11:33:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, yeah... (3.80)
          And that AdAge question is just bogus. Viewers always say that political ads don't influence them. Only they do.  Substantially.

          As in product advertising, political ads are a blunt instrument. They're perfectly useless as a tool of persuasion. But for launching a candidate or driving up his or her negatives, they're still absurdly effective and essential.

          The people have the power / The power to dream / To rule / To wrestle the world from fools -Patti Smith

          by Septic Tank on Wed May 26, 2004 at 11:46:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I Strongly Agree (3.75)
            I've looked closely at how election results were affected by regional variances in electronic advertising; its use in the absence of other campaign activities is often not enough to determine the outcome of a race, but it's absence is often enough to determine the outcome.  A few years back I was involved with a series of down-ballot statewide races.  Most of that state was blanketed with advertising by both sides, but a small percentage of the state was dark--i.e., neither side advertised.  In the parts where both sides advertised, the challengers ran about 20% points better than they did in the parts of the state--several counties separated from each other by great distances--where prospective voters saw no advertising.  Since there was little different from the parts of the state that saw no ads and the vast majority of the state that did see ads, and since the races in question were non-partisan and thus relatively unaffected by baseline partisanship, it was crystal clear that the advertising had a significant affect on the outcome of the election.  

            Oh yeah, the undervotes (number of people who didn't cast a vote for the offices in question) were much higher in the regions that didn't recieve advertisements, even after one controlled for the variations in ballot completion attributable to various ballot designs.  

            Finally, you are 100% that something is completely bogus if it passes conculusions about what does influence people based upon what they say influences their thoughts and behavior.  If anybody doubts this, just drop by your local university and spend about five minutes sitting in on a social psychology class.  We've now got about 80 years of methodologically rigorous experimental social psychology research that shows that individuals have a very tenous grasp of what actually persuades them and influences their social perceptions and attributions.  In fact, almost the entire field of social psychology is an endeavor in pursuing evidence about the actual means of social influence and persuasion, a pursuit that invariably leads to conclusions that are completely at odds with what people believe influences their own personal behavior.  

            •  Harvard and the Owner (none)
              got a little bit suckered by this "study."

              Looks like a conclusion looking a "study" to support it.

              For example, "campaign stops" means tons f local "earned coverage."  Free media is ALWAYS more effective than paid media.  The principle appplies to everything  - from paid subscriptions v. shoppers, to Public relations getting "free" coverage of a prodct (or candidate) as compared to paid ads - credibility being the main factor - attentiveness another.

              "Our purpose is to get this dangerous incompetent out of the White House." - Digby

              by Armando on Thu May 27, 2004 at 05:10:00 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Differentiation (3.50)
                The Harvard study doesn't deal with whether people believe ads.  In fact, it's coauthored by a Gore staffer who is now Kerry's communications director, and you don't reach that level in the profession believing that if somebody says they don't believe political ads or what politicians say, that therefore you should give up or recognize the futility.  I just skimmed the Harvard article, and it seems like a legit attempt to discern the impact of local visits by a Presidential candidate, including relative to other campaign expenditures.  

                The adweek thing to me makes me think more along the lines of the empirical psych classes I had in college, where there were always marketing students from the B-school struggling in what they discovered was a much more rigorous field of study than the less methodologically stringent research they learned about in marketing.  It also backs up what I've learned from people I know who do marketing research--they personally may know sound methodology, but because of budget constraints and short-sighted concerns with "the bottom line," the research they are often forced to conduct doesn't meet their professional standards.  

                •  Umm (none)
                  well then I have to put it on the Owner - the conclusion drawn seems, to me at least, not supported by the data point provided (I didn't read the article.)

                  "Our purpose is to get this dangerous incompetent out of the White House." - Digby

                  by Armando on Thu May 27, 2004 at 07:22:09 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  "D'oh" Effect (none)
              Absolutely true.  Though it's hard to believe one would need to spend time in a social psychology class to know that asking folks if they themselves are influenced by advertising to know that the responses would skew toward the negative response, whether the issue is politics or a consumer product.  Of course real-world results show otherwise.

              vote early - vote often

              by wystler on Thu May 27, 2004 at 07:55:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Are Bush's negative ads hurting him? (3.00)
            Viewers always say that political ads don't influence them. Only they do.  Substantially.

            I wonder how much the need for Bush to open each of his attacks on Kerry with a statement that he has "approved" the message is starting to hurt him.   If it is true that negative ads move people more than they admit, could it also be that associating someone, particularly a sitting president, with a lot of negative ads early in the season could be as much responsible for Bush's decline in standing as much as the more obvious reasons?

            When you hear the voice of the President saying he has "approved" a message you almost have to listen with one ear at least for a moment because it could be some important civil defense announcement or something.  And then when the next thing you hear is the tell-tail negative ad music and some cloying attacks on Kerry you not only feel tricked but a bit angry.  Isn't there something unpresidential and wrong about a "war time" president being on TV several times an hour saying that he has "approved" a message like that?

            How will anyone ever know how much this is hurting Bush?  Just because Rove does not see any problem does not mean it is not there.  It is possible that Bush's negative ads about Kerry are in fact responsible for his fall in the polls as much as gas prices and the Iraq news?

          •  Surprise (3.66)
            Honestly, I'm surprised that Kos and others are reprinting this study.  When people are asked 'were those commercials effective' I think they hear: 'are you a moron that believes everything he sees on tv?'.  You can predict what the most common answer will be.

            I think this study is clearly contrary to what we've seen in the last two months: Kerry's negatives rising under the Bush ad barrage and then this numbers levelling off as a result of his own ad buy.

            •  And allow me to point out that (3.50)
              there is no faster way for a candidate who is less well-known to build name recognition than TV advertising.

              Before someone can vote for you, they usually have to know your name (I write usually, because some of us vote straight ticket).

              "Calmer than you are, dude."

              by Sheffield on Thu May 27, 2004 at 06:57:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  efficiency (3.50)
              the study does not say that ads are completely ineffective.  instead it argues that it is much harder to make an effect on voters.  you have to spend a lot more (more ads in a given market) to make the gains than in years past.

              "Everybody's organized but the people." - Common Cause founder John Gardner

              by juls on Thu May 27, 2004 at 07:45:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I haven't read it... (3.00)
                ...I'll admit.  But everybody is quoting a study that relies on the opinions of the targeted viewers.  

                It's hard to ask someone if they've been brainwashed and you would expect 100% to say no.

                It seems much more reliable to track the behavior of the the viewers rather than their impressions of the ads effectiveness.  

                That said, yeah, they're probably not as effective.  

          •  Yep, bogus (4.00)
            There's no reason to think that ads have no effect, and people always think they're too smart to be swayed so easily.

            But, ads do have an effect, but not in the way most people think. Ads have virtually no credibility in a factual way. Nearly everyone discounts everything they hear in an ad . . . that's probably true. But, they are still affected by it in ways they do not understand. People still think that if see through the "facts" in an ad they are see through the ad. The "facts" in the ads are simply excuses for the underlying effort of the ad: to color your perceptions of a brand name. A negative ad will associate negative perceptions with a certain brand name (like "John Kerry" or "Democrats"), while a positive ad will associate positive perceptions and emotions. And it works. No doubt. It takes A LOT of effort not to be affected, even for someone like me who knows exactly what's going on in every cut and sound-cue. It works on a brain level that's simply hard to control.

            Sure, people are a little more hardened to it after growing up with sophisticated advertising, lowering the nominal impact of each specific ad. Additionally, another reason it takes more ads is that people watch fewer ads in the days of clickers and multiple channels. But, ads do work if you know what you're trying to do with them.

            Long-term, however, ads are dead. It has nothing to do with consumers, though, but technology. TiVo, broadband Internet over power lines, a whole host of technologies are coming together like a freight train barreling around the bend with the commercial TV paradigm tied to the tracks.

          •  Good point, Septic. (none)
            Kos, Septic is right.

            No one wants to admit that they are influenced by ads.

            Ads work on a less conscious level than these studies address.

            Nothing will give you peace except the triumph of principles. --Emerson ... Click to read the 'Union'

            by Hudson on Thu May 27, 2004 at 08:31:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (3.00)
        Treating the voter/viewer as an adult --"leveling" -- would likely be effective.  I mean, where is reality when a war-monger/criminal like Bushit does a soft-focus sunny day ad with lush green vegetation background and a "classical" music soundtrack?  Who buys that incongruity?  I mean, who's going to swallow that fake intimacy?  Save the Hallmark's for holidays.

        Actually, what they've got to do is knock of the advertising -- the sales pitch.  Just present the person and an issue.  I don't even buy products -- soap or otherwise -- because of ads.

        I hate ads!  Give me a look at the candidate giving some nuanced details about an issue, not about how the other guy sucks.

        A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on. -- Mark Twain

        by jnagarya on Thu May 27, 2004 at 03:27:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  re: hunh? (none)
        jd is right - people tune these ads out. Why? Because they suck!  They're patronizing at best, outright lies at worst. People's radar lights up for a regular ad, you best believe it's lit up when a politician slides onto their screens. The last good campaign ad I've seen was Jesse Ventura's "Evil Special Interests Man" back in the day. I'm telling you, there's an absolutely huge opportunity for the first agency that can convince its' client (candidate) to run an ad with cojones.

        Oro en Paz, Fiero en Guerra.

        by cazart on Thu May 27, 2004 at 02:20:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I (none)
      Kerry has got it in the bag "knock on a broken leg."
      "local" is as important as who is running for the petzedental position.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site