The Secret to Two of the Best Political Ads of 2016

re-elect gerald daugherty tv adTwo TV commercials for 2016 political candidates are getting a lot of attention.  One is for a Republican, the other for a Democratic candidate.   The commercials could not be more different, and yet they share one key ingredient.

First the commercials then we’ll talk about their shared secret for success. 

Please Re-Elect Gerald

Please Re-Elect Gerald is an ad for Republican Gerald Daugherty.  It stars his wife, Charlyn Daugherty.

Background Checks

Next up is an ad for Democrat Jason Kander.

What makes both of these ads so compelling?   Something that is almost completely missing from political TV commercials…..authenticity.

The secret to Re-Elect Gerald

The Re-Elect Gerald ad wins the prize for the best use of a spouse.   If I see one more ad with a politician and his/or her family eating at a picnic table or walking in a park, I swear…   Those ads look staged and produce almost no emotional reaction.

By comparison, Charlyn Daugherty comes across as a real person.  Yes, there is still the obligatory cook out, but just about everyone can relate to the challenges of a spouse who retires (and yes, it’s usually the hubby) and suddenly wants to hang out around the house.

Her final “Please” plea is so funny because it strikes us as so true….aka…authentic.

This ad also gets props for showing a male candidate helping with the laundry and doing the dishes.

The secret to Background Checks

Background Checks features veteran Jason Kander.

It is one thing to talk about guns.  It is another to assemble one blindfolded.  Jason wins credibility with his obvious respect for and knowledge of how to assemble and handle a gun.  It’s a more authentic way to get across his message.

The secret to the power of these ads is that we are more likely to believe that  these two people are who they say they are.  And that is so incredibly rare in political ads these days.

The role of gender

Finally, these ads connect with genders their parties may be struggling to connect with.

For Republicans struggling to connect with women, with Re-Elect Gerald, Charlyn Daugherty is someone women can relate to.  Her situation is something women can relate to.  That sense of, “she is like me” is an incredibly powerful tool to win trust.

For Democrats struggling to connect with men, Background Checks may increase the status of Jason Kander.   Notice the challenge at the end?  Gaining status and credibility with an audience is also an incredibly powerful tool to win trust.

Now, there are some who are going to say they don’t believe the ad of either politician (or their spouse).  And that’s OK.  You’re not going to win over everyone.

But when you are going after a more skeptical audience, authenticity can be an incredibly powerful strategy.

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3 Responses to The Secret to Two of the Best Political Ads of 2016

  1. I actually don’t know that the funny ad with the wife (and the get him out of the house) is successful in its purpose. It’s funny, yes. But, when I saw it, it made me LESS likely to vote for the man … I felt as if he was a bumbling idiot.

    The gun one was more impressive. That one really made me think. I liked it a lot.

    • Holly Buchanan says:

      Thanks Yvonne. I always appreciate your perspective. Proof that not all ads work for all people. For me Gerald came across as being genuinely interested in fixing things. Though the ad was clearly poking fun at him.

      • Holly Buchanan says:

        And you bring up a point I should clarify – it is the wife who comes across as authentic, vs. the candidate himself.

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