I was watching Face the Nation this morning and Bob Schieffer did what I considered a great segment. He was talking about the current tone of political ads in our country. He said he spoke to someone at Burger King and asked them why their advertising never focuses on what is wrong with McDonald's. The answer he got was that if they started doing attack ads against them they would be attacking the hamburger industry as a whole. I stopped to think about this for a minute. It is certainly well thought out considering some of the disgusting practices of the fast food industries.
Let's imagine the scenario for a minute. Burger King makes an ad and shows the deplorable conditions that were recently exposed at the plant where McDonald's used to buy their eggs. (They fired the vendor the day after the tapes were made live on 20/20.) What do you think McDonald's next step would be. Most likely to expose something nasty that Burger King does, which I am sure there are several scenarios to play on. So as people watching this advertising as these back and forth commercials go on we would all likely just become disgusted with fast food in general and stop eating it or stop eating it as much. This is not good for McDonald's or Burger King. So instead both advertisers focus on what is good about them instead of what is bad about the other guy.
I have worked in advertising for a long time and I know the type of ads that work are ones that make the watcher feel like they are getting a benefit by doing business with the company. As Americans we are all about ourselves. How it effects us, how it is going to make us feel and how it is going to make our life better. If a company can answer those questions through its advertising they stand to gain many new customers.
I also started thinking do other industries do this? The only one I could really come up with is Mac vs PC. We have all seen the commercials...I am a Mac and I am a PC where they flippantly speak about what the other system can't do. I have never seen a State Farm insurance ad that tells me Geico won't fix my car if I am in an accident. I have never seen a personal injury attorney talking about why the other big guy in town is no good. This kind of advertising just doesn't happen in most industries because companies are smart enough to realize they need to sell you on their product in the short time they have in front of you.
Now fast forward to politics. The reality is political season makes me want to take my eye out when it comes to commercials. Not only are the same ones on over and over again but I have not seen a positive one in years. I have not seen one candidate take the time to create advertising that tells me why I should vote for them. They can only tell me why I should not vote for the other guy. This is bad planning all around. All it does it get us thinking in a negative light about every candidate.
So this year I challenge all the political candidates to create advertising that tells me why they are a good choice. Put some dignity back in our elections. Take the high road and be the candidate that I can actually stomach to watch an ad from. The reality is no matter how good or bad you are if you only are capable of being negative that already tells me everything I need to know about you. It means you are nothing more than a school yard bully and have no business being a part of our already broken system.