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What if the American business community adopted the same advertising approach as politicians? Now, that's a scenario worth exploring! Philip Barnett, a colleague and fundraising marketer in Phoenix, came up with TV commercials we'd likely hear.


Here's some of Philip's take:
Now, I can understand a commercial that says, "Our Chevy gets better gas mileage than similarly priced Fords or Toyotas," assuming that turns out to be a statement of fact. However, if their advertising director came directly from the political arena, here's what we might end up hearing.
"Did you know that more than 3,000,000 Fords have been recalled in the last five years, or that every penny of profit that results when you buy a foreign car goes to a foreign country? And Chrysler? Do you really want a three-year warrantee from a company that might go bankrupt in six months? We're from GM and we approve this message."
Or, there could be this:
"We just wanted to let you know that most Burger King employees don't wash their hands after using the rest room. And Taco Bell? With a name like that do you really believe that all of their employees have a green card? We're McDonald's and we approve this message."
The reason this is not done, aside from the fact that the business world has much better taste than those running for office, is that it would drive customers away in droves - not from those being accused, but from the people who were making the claims. If only politicians would understand this and realize how much they are insulting the intelligence of potential voters when they "go negative."
Of course, it could be worse. After all, there might be ads running in every state, like the one that now appears in Arizona - where a candidate is criticized for having "masturbated on county time."
As someone recently observed, it's no wonder that politicians are barely more popular than child predators.
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Just in case you think Philip was joking about the spot, check it out on YouTube. Paid for by Arizonans for Public Safety with funding from the Arizona Republican Party, the spot attempts to discredit Dan Saban, the Democrat running against incumbent Sherriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County.
My understanding is that negative campaign ads work; that's why political marketers produce them. So, marketers, could businesses adopt this approach successfully? Or should political advertising change its usual tactics?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Elaine Fogel

Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.

LinkedIn: Elaine Fogel

Twitter: @Elaine_Fogel