Political Ads Used to Set Media Agenda


No matter which politician you support, what’s certain is that both are using what’s known as “vapor ads” to get out claims against the opposing candidate — without the expense of actually buying time for the ads. The media treats the ads as if they appear in heavy rotation on broadcast outlets, which means the campaigns generate a huge payoff with minimal expense.

Check out an interesting Washington Post article, “The Ads That Aren’t: Candidates Let Media Spread the Message” by Paul Farhi.

For businesses operating in a competitive sector, this approach would not work because typically businesses do not engage in head-to-head competition through commercials. But, while it took years and year, Microsoft has finally responded to Apple’s very funny & successful “I’m a Mac” campaign — and I think the new campaign (after the funny-but-ineffective Seinfield commercials) is actually quite good.

But here’s the point for this blog: whether through advertising or word-of-mouth, competitors always seek to reposition your products or services. The challenge is to make sure you are constantly communicating your position to key audiences. If you’re not, your customers might only hear what your competitors are telling them about you and your product or service.


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