Ad Makers Identify A Problem: Democrats Are Boring
There are certainly quite a few candidates running in the 2020 Democratic primaries. As more of them are focusing on their campaigns, ads are being launched. There’s a huge problem with it all: they’re boring. Ad makers are trying to get Democrats to loosen up so that the ads aren’t so yawn-inducing.
In an effort to be politically correct, most of the candidates are coming across as boring. They’re not able to stand out because their ads sound the same as political ads have for decades before. It’s either a deep-voiced narrator talking while an American flag blows in the breeze or a candidate is staring straight into the camera and talking to their voters.
It’s all too traditional, and it’s not allowing for any kind of creativity. With hundreds of millions of dollars to be spent on advertising, the political candidates need to step up their game.
The GOP has it easy. When they’re running ads for Trump’s re-election campaign, they simply have to play videos and sound nuggets from DNC debates. The Democrats offer a humorous background as they fight it out, bash Obama, and call for a ban on burgers. GOP ads are funny because they’re replaying what the Dems are saying.
The Dems don’t have that luxury, however. They don’t want to risk being mocked any more than they already are. In such a crowded atmosphere, they have to figure out a way to stand out. If they don’t, they aren’t going to gain the kind of momentum that they are looking for – and that they are paying for. National commercials don’t come cheap – yet they are blowing their budget on ads that aren’t providing any kind of pulling movement.
Owen Brennan, an ad maker based in Los Angeles who has worked with a variety of Republicans, says that the risky path is one that involves ads that could have anyone else’s names stamped on them. They focus on steering politicians away from straightforward biographical ads because they are boring.
Mark Longabaugh, a media consultant who has worked with Bernie Sanders in the past identify that no one is using provocative sets of ads. While provocative isn’t the answer for everyone, it can be a great way to stand out at this point in time.
Who is making the investments?
There are only a few candidates who have made significant investments in television advertising at this point in time. This includes Tom Steyer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Steyer has the generic ads of him shaking voters’ hands and talking to the camera. He didn’t qualify for the September DNC debate and he’s barely polling at 2% – and that’s only if you look at total adults polled instead of registered voters.
Gillibrand didn’t have much luck, either. Her ads featured various clips of her walking down hallways, speaking at rallies, and riding in her car. She didn’t qualify for the September debate and has officially exited the race.
With still more than 2020 candidates in the race and only 10 qualifying for the September DNC debates, surprising that Democrats aren’t taking more risks when it comes to TV advertisements.
There are still a number of presidential candidates who need to make big moves if they want to get a jump in the polls. However, they cannot settle with generic ads. If they are going to make a high stake move, they need a high stake ad.
Ads Aren’t Getting the Job Done
According to Steyer’s spokesman, Alberto Lammers, the TV ads are helping him to creep upward in the polls. They will continue to buy airtime because they feel that the message is “penetrating.” With such a boring ad, it’s going to say a lot about who Steyer is – a boring politician who isn’t any different from his competitors.
Ads need to be emotional and powerful. They need to be creative. Too many of the Democratic candidates are saying the same things. Their political platforms are the same, with the desire to offer Medicare for all, open borders, and take a new, progressive approach to running America. If everyone is saying the same things, they need to branch off and be different at some point – and this is when it is critical to use TV ads to differentiate themselves.
As ad makers have said, the ads need to be attention-grabbing. It needs to introduce the candidate to America while also providing some insight as to where they stand. If the American flag is waving in the wind and people are seeing the candidates stand there and stare into the camera, it is likely going to make people change the station rather than running down to a polling station.