Unless you’re a big follower of politics, and you don’t live in Wisconsin, you’ve probably missed the recent elections designed to recall several state legislature members.
In a pretty bold statement, Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel calls the recall campaign “as negative as it gets.”
Why was this campaign so “negative?”
[Political advertising scholar Ken] Goldstein offers several reasons. There were big stakes. The outcome was in doubt (competitive elections generate more negative ads). Most of the money was spent by independent groups, which tend to be more exclusively attack-oriented than candidates are. The challengers and their allies were making a case for recalling incumbent lawmakers. Incumbents and their allies had a counter-strategy of “disqualifying” their challengers (making them too unpalatable to consider voting for). Both sides were serving up hard-hitting rhetoric aimed at turning out their base.
Why do I bring this up on here? Because you ain’t seen nothing yet. Political candidates and special interest groups will have tons of money headed into 2012. And they’re gonna spend it on TV, even as they ramp up online and social efforts. They’re ready to fill the spending vacuum consumer marketers leave behind. Much of it will be negative advertising. As I’ve said before, negative advertising makes an impression, whether we want to admit it or not.