Sunday, October 15, 2006

"Midterm Meanness: Negative Ads Rule the 2006 Elections"

CQ Politics:

(snip)Advances in marketing have made it possible for campaigns to target sub-segments of populations through the expanding array of media options — known in the trade as “micro-targeting.” These niche populations are identified and targeted through a combination of polling data, market research firms, anecdotal evidence from the campaigns and “gut feelings about what’s going to work,” said Dion, a partner at the Republican media-consulting firm Alfano-Leonardo Communications.

“The days of going after the independent swing voter in many ways are gone,” said Rivlin. Candidates “narrowcast” their ads, filming multiple versions of each one to run during television programming targeting different audiences. The increasing array of available outlets gives campaigns the ability to further tailor their pitch to their target.

Davis of Dixon-Davis said he is advising clients to invest a greater percentage of their paid media budgets in cable television, where they can target by demographic or interest, among other variables. “Broadcast television is still an important way to reach the largest number of people as quickly and as loudly as you can if you’re trying to introduce a candidate or change the nature of the race, but cable television has become a very targetable tool,” he said.

Diverse, specialized audiences make radio another good medium for pitching to specific groups. The National Black Republican Association, which is working to bring African-American voters and politicians into the GOP, recently produced a radio ad supporting Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele in the Maryland Senate race against Democratic Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin. The spot, which ran on stations across the state with large black audiences, sought to tie the Democratic Party to racist policies including Jim Crow laws and claimed that Democrats started the Ku Klux Klan. “Democrats have bamboozled blacks. . . . Democrats want to keep us poor and voting only Democrat,” it said. Steele decried the spot as “insulting to Marylanders” and called for it to be pulled off the air.

No comments: