What makes a good campaign commercial? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

What makes a good campaign commercial?

Oct. 24, 2002

Albany-- If you watch television for more than a few minutes these days, you'll probably see a slew of political commercials. As election day approaches, candidates are filling the airwaves with their ads.

Darton College Political Science Professor Roger Marietta said, "If you watch television, you'll see a lot of political ads."

We showed a random selection of ads to Marietta's American Government class to find out which commercials work for these young voters. Generally, they don't like negative commercials. After seeing an ad in the U.S. Senate campaign, one student said "Instead of pointing the finger at him the whole time, I think they could put in what they're gonna do different."

The students think some attack ads are effective by making voters focus on certain issues, but most of these young voters say they'd rather hear the candidates talk about their ideas instead of criticizing their opponents. "You can see the problems all around. We just need the solutions," said one student.

The class liked ads with memorable slogans such as Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor's "the big guy who get things done" and a line in a Saxby Chambliss ad that says "replace Max with Sax."

The students' favorite commercials were ones that featured the candidates themselves making personal pitches. They especially liked gubernatorial candidate Sonny Perdue's plea for voters to call him with their ideas. One student said, "Call me so we can talk. That was cute. More personal. I thought it was cute." Another said, "He wants to know what we think should be done about schools about anything."

Marietta said in modern politics, television ads are important to most any successful campaign. He said, "That's where everybody puts their money. 75% of the money goes into TV ads, and that's the way to reach the voters."

Marietta and his students agree, you shouldn't let these ads overwhelm or confuse you. You should simply use them as one way, but not the only way, to help you make informed choices on election day.

Posted at 4:40 p.m. by ben.roberts@walb.com

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