The issues don’t matter: The election explained by an advertising guy

In advertising we deal with competing brands all the time. Logically thinking, you might assume that one brand really is better than another. But if facts and logic where what consumers were in the market for each product category would have one dominate brand and everyone else would just get out of the market.

We advertising people even sometimes work for awhile on one brand and then work on the competitor later in a career with no conflict. I’ve worked on multiple sports brands, hotel brands and motorcycle brands for instance. This has never hurt my ability to do my job. In fact, catagory experience is something agencies and clients look for in their teams.

Some cynics think that we advertising people are lying liars. We just make stuff up to trick you into purchasing a product. Some of us might if that weren’t illegal, grounds for a lawsuit and cause them to get fired. And we don’t need to lie because people aren’t really interested in boring facts. They really only care how something makes them feel.

We may occasionally say something is the best – but we really care how you feel about a product and not what you rationally think. Don’t believe me? What’s a logical reason someone would buy Coca-Cola and not Pepsi? Now think of the billions Coca-Cola spends on advertising. AT&T spends 4.6 billion on advertising in the US every year and I doubt they’ve convinced you of a logical reason why you should buy services from them.

Now to the election. The press uses the horse race narrative and pretends it’s driven by “issues” so they can put experts on their programs and write articles about “issues” filled with supposed facts. You may even argue about issues with your friends, coworkers and even spouse. Ironically, you both will have a complete opposite version of facts. And neither will admit any bias.

But very few people actually vote based on the soup of issues that are a candidate’s platform. There are “single issue” voters though who will never change their minds (guns and abortion crowd), so they’re not in play. In the end, for most of us, it’s about how the vote makes us feel. Did we vote with our conscience the “right” way.

The real trick in this election is about one campaign getting more of the 10% or so of the electorate that is truly in play to feel better about pulling the lever for either Trump or Clinton. And that my friends, still looks like a race to the bottom.

Posted on: August 31, 2016, by :