Trump Killed TV Advertising! Ya, Not So Much.


In a way, this is really a follow-up to my last Print Observer post, ‘’Who Killed Print? Maybe the Advertisers.’’


For those of us in media and marketing, there’s a debate raging among political consultants and
pundits about the meaning of Trump winning and Bush failing, that is actually relevant to our work lives (no matter where you stand on the political spectrum.) You see, by the time of the Iowa GOP Caucuses, Mr. Trump had spent a
few million on TV spots, while Governor Bush had spent well over $60 million.
As we all know, Trump has won big in every contest so far and
Governor Bush is now out of the race.


The knee-jerk reaction by some, of course, has been to say
that TV commercials simply don’t work anymore. Despite the fact that the Trump
campaign has rung-up as much as $50 million worth of ‘’earned media,’’ many
still argue that Trump’s success has brought a long-running staple of political
campaigning (the 30 second spot) into question. Even in the face of the ever
growing use of video on an ever growing list of devices and accessed through an
ever growing list of digital services, it is being suggested that television advertising (a.k.a.
‘’video’’) is somehow obsolete.

Apparently a candidate’s choice of media is basically a game of Russian roulette.  Who knew?

I’m not sure we can really classify this logic as logical. But it is this kind of shoddy logic that has likely contributed to the decline in print advertising as well.

Politics aside, the way marketers should view the failure of the Bush campaign is as a cautionary tale of limits. Namely,
the limits of any given media and any given brand without a strong
message/offer. Media is about reach and context. But persuasion and marketing
success is derived from marrying the media with a strong offer. Simply put, Trump’s message is exceedingly powerful.
TV advertising is here to stay in political advertising but campaigns might consider shaving a few points off the local TV buy and throw a few bucks at print. It’s not the media, it’s the message. Print has a role to play.

By: Jim Jinks 

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