Surprise Attacks Okay. Smart Attacks Even Better.

Vinny Minchillo, chief creative officer of Scott Howell & Company, writing in Ad Age, says he’s working to improve political advertising and that the category is “one of the last great untamed creative opportunities.”

Focus group after focus group, for political and traditional clients alike, shows that people hate attack advertising. At least, what they perceive as attack advertising. They have no trouble with you pointing out differences, but don’t attack the other side. People hate that.
Or do they?
There’s an ad campaign running right now that has all the hallmarks of traditional attack advertising. One side portrays the other in an unflattering light and spends 30 seconds hammering away at the other side’s flaws. It starts, “Hi, I’m a Mac. And I’m a PC.”
Simple, brilliant, effective. A negative ad done with taste.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.