My good friend Anne sent me this link to an AdWeek article on political media and the Internet. Matt Dowd, who was the Director of Strategy for the Bush campaign had a quote that struck me.
“The placement of advertising is less important now,” said Matthew Dowd, the chief strategist for George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign. “You have to be creative because it will not [go] viral unless it is creative and has some sort of excitement.”
This goes back to my post from last week about the GOP and creativity. The fact remains that our party is still the party of message discipline and we’re not likely to give that up. We, frankly, don’t create a lot of engaging ads.
Even Reagan’s Morning in America or Bear ads, despite being recognized as some of the great political ads of all time, are not all that engaging. Morning in America is a beautiful ad and told a great story, but it really wasn’t anything that would stimulate water cooler chatter. Bear was better, but look at the reception Wolves got when Bush tried to replicate it in 2004. It wasn’t viral, or something to which people exchanged links.
Political advertising, especially on the GOP side, is uninteresting by design. Political ads are designed to communicate, but not to stir. They are meant to be consumed but not memorable because anything memorable will probably offend someone.