Blog from Maribeth Kuzmeski of Red Zone Marketing
I was in California last week and had the “pleasure” of listening to the horrifically negative political ads on TV. Most TV’s across the country are filled with these ads right now. The California Gubernatorial race serves as the perfect example of a political race that has put productive political discourse aside and devolved into a cycle of negative ads. Democratic candidate Jerry Brown refers to his Republican opponent, Meg Whitman, as Pinocchio in his ads. Whitman says that Brown has a legacy of failure and that failure follows him everywhere. One thing is for sure. Negative ads must work because they are appearing coast to coast – from California to West Virginia to Delaware. But would negative ads work for financial advisors or other professional services businesses? I think not. Then why does it work for politicians?
Negative ads can be a very effective way to turn the electorate one way or the other through emotional arguments and attacks. It is a war of words with an ultimate winner and a loser. And it works. But the downside is that the perception left with voters is some level of disdain for both sides. This type of advertising wouldn’t work with professional services firms because their success is built upon relationships and trust. Obviously connecting with voters through trust is not a primary strategy for politicians. I personally believe that what candidates should focus on is becoming better connectors like financial advisors and other professionals must. Would it be that detrimental to take the high road?