Lessons for advertisers from the US election

Obama Ohio Field office MuralIn the Financial Times today a piece that has lessons for marketers. Taking a look at how despite the surge in traditional political advertising spend during the US election campaign, with billions of dollars spent, you can not simply outspend your rivals to win. This is particularly true when large numbers of people are not watching television for days at a time in any given week, which is why so much energy and time was put into multiple digital channels that have lessons of their own for the marketing industry.

The piece quotes research suggesting that rather than driving the message home blanket advertising is likely to have a negative effect.
However despite this Thomas Gensemer, managing partner of Blue State Digital, says that “Television ads remain the story”. He says they are still the biggest expression of the campaign.
“Corporate marketers could also draw lessons from how political campaigns dealt with another issue: nearly a third of likely voters said they had not watched live television in the past seven days, according to a June poll conducted by Say Media, a digital media company, and two political advertising consultancies.

“Respondents watched an average of 20 hours of video a week, but nearly half of that was on platforms that made it easy to skip commercials.

“That makes the message contained in the commercials, how they are targeted at constituents and their digital offshoots, all the more crucial. “Clearly, the lesson is around market segmentation,” said Brian Monahan, managing partner of Interpublic’s Magnaglobal media buying arm. Mr Monahan worked on the 1992 presidential campaign for Bill Clinton, which was considered sophisticated at the time for targeting TV advertising messages by geographic markets, the Financial Times reports.