Monday, September 18, 2006

The Advertising of Politics

We had an interesting speaker in my state politics class today. Michael Terris is a political consultant based in San Francisco. He mainly specializes in direct mailings all over the country, but he also does general consulting for campaigns in California. It was interesting to hear the insights of someone who basically makes junk mail for a living, but only for political campaigns. It sounded a lot like the advertising class I took last year. Basically it is the same as any other advertising campaign, except you are selling people, politicians to be precise. One of his most interesting comments:

"Our job is not to educate voters, that is a really expensive proposition to actually change someone’s mind. Our job is to match our client’s viewpoints with the already held views of voters. . . . I am not going to try to convince them that they are wrong about something; I am not going to try to convince them that they are right about something; I am going to match my client’s strength and ideas with their previously held convictions and strengths and ideas so that I help my client accrue votes."

Sounds like a politician? It is not really any different than most business people would sound like when talking about their product or service. It is all about make whatever you are trying to sell match the consumer (or voter). Sometimes we get frustrated with politicians and especially campaigns, but we should be grateful for the freedoms we do have, and I think that most politicians are not as bad as we make them out to be.

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