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Mid-Term Election Commercials: A Bumper Crop of Rotten Fruit

The mid-term election cycle that we have just survived could not have been uglier. As a communicator, I studied the foulest crop of television ads I can recall, so horrified that I simply could not not look.

Christine O’Donnell was or wasn’t a witch. (But she’s “you,” for sure.) Carly Fiorina depicted her opponent as an evil blimp. Scores of candidates simply lied about the facts. The offices of President of the United States and the Speaker of the House of Representatives were demeaned by reference only to the last names of their current holders, as if association with an Obama or a Pelosi were akin to a conviction for murder. By some estimates, $3 billion dollars were spent by Democratic and Republic candidates to lie about, debase and vilify their opponents.

Unfortunately, this bumper crop of rotten fruit was produced by some very talented communication professionals, who knew exactly what they were doing. Polls, like this one, consistently say that viewers hate negative political advertising. But, for the most, it works. A couple of writers’ “lessons learned” pieces strike me as particularly useful for communication professionals. So rather than reinvent their wheels, I’ll simply point you to them. They’re thoughtful and thought-provoking and worth a few moments of your time. Unlike most political commercials.

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