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There’re two things about political ads a normal ‘Joe’ sitting at home watching TV could tell you that a lot of campaigns haven’t figured out – here’s an example: Americans for Prosperity just launched a new tv ad attacking Roy Cooper and like a lot of political ads it begins with a shadowy black and white photo of Cooper, red, yellow and black graphics, tense music, and an announcer saying in a dead-pan voice, North Carolina families can’t afford Roy Cooper.

The ad looked a lot like the Democratic ads attacking Pat McCrory except the message was different – and that’s the first problem: As soon as a political ad with shadow pictures pops-up on TV people think, Here’s one more politician trying to fool me. They don’t assume the politicians telling them the truth, they assume he’s not telling the truth.

The second problem’s called ‘clutter’ – which is what happens when a fellow turns on his TV and five or six political ads run back to back: If you’re the third or fourth ad in that sequence you’re toast no matter how good your ad may be because by then the voter you’re trying to reach has headed for the refrigerator, the bathroom, or clicked to another channel.


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