Campaign ads hit the airwaves - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Campaign ads hit the airwaves

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February 26, 2004

Albany -- As Georgia moves closer to Super Tuesday the airwares are filling up political ads from the democratic presidential candidates. Although their messages are different the mission is the same,to capture the votes of those still undecided.

They are the army invading the broadcast airwaves. John Kerry and John Edwards are hoping you'll pay attention to their commercials. The messages are calculated and the images are engineered and the stakes are bigger than ever.

"What we call in marketing competitive advertising when you think you have something better to offer than the other candidate or any good or service then you are going to compare it directly to the other candidate," says Darton college business professor Amid Singh.

Kerry's ads focus more on his Vietnam War heroism and heavy hitting endorsements like an ad featuring Max Clexland. They stay away from Kerry's views on global trade that many South Georgian blame for job losses.

Edwards' ads on the other hand try to paint him as a man of the people from humble roots even though now he's a millionaire lawyer. But do the messages really sway voters?

"I don't know if they sway me so much by TV ads but, at least they give you a basis to start with,"says one voter.

"Once you have already  made up your mind no matter what ad they put on that will not change your vote,"says another voter.

But after hours of being bombarded with political advertising, you are left with the impression that candidates are offered up to voters or consumer pretty much the same way beers, fast food or candy bars are with one size fits all flavor. But are ads really distinctive enough for you the tell the difference.

We had voters listen to scripts from ads without telling them which candidate they belong two out of five couldn't tell the difference.

"After you hear them some many time you get tired of hearing all of them just tend to ignore them,"says one voter

So where does that leave the candidates? Analysts say there is evidence that ads can make the difference for borderline voters less of an effect on those who are already supporting a candidate. One thing is certain we'll be seeing a lot more of these between now and November.

It seems the real winners this year will be television stations who are expected rake in more than 600-million dollars in political advertising revenue.

posted at 4:50PM by scott.hunter@walb.com