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How to generate emotional response in political advertising.

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Presentation on theme: "How to generate emotional response in political advertising."— Presentation transcript:

1 How to generate emotional response in political advertising

2 Why emotional response? According to George E. Marcus, president of the International Society of Political Psychology, unless political ads evoke emotional responses they don’t have much effect. Voters need to be emotionally primed in some way before they will pay attention.

3 Research “suggests that the reason candidates seem appealing often has little to do with their ideas. Political campaigns are won and lost at a more emotional and subtle level.” – Shankar Vedantam, Washington Post Many researchers and most practitioners agree that emotional advertising is most effective

4 How are emotions evoked? Video Sound People Situations Stories Cultural icons/symbolism

5 How are emotions evoked? “The overall emotional impact of the ad is produced by the conjunction of words, music, and images in a narrative structure.” – Brader Emphasized hope and fear


7 Video Use of color v. black and white – B/W represents sinister past, poverty/sadness, etc. Framing of candidates – Surroundings Light/darkness (shading of face, starkness of detail) Slow motion Quick cuts

8 Sound Music – Background – Choice of resonant popular music for particular target group Voices – Candidate’s voice – Narrator – Man-on-the-street Testimonial

9 People Humans are hard-wired for emotional/empathic bonding – People naturally take the perspective of others, feeling what they would in the other person’s place – People react extremely strongly to the human face, where emotion is most clearly represented

10 People People who represent target groups – Empathy/identification – Instinctive response to human faces/emotions Children/elderly/sick – Vulnerable people whose troubles are not of their own doing Heroes – Soldiers/police/firefighters – Less often: doctors/teachers Villains – Terrorists/Saddam Hussein/Oil speculators/HMO officers/Lobbyists

11 Situations Audience will often identify with people facing difficulties/experiencing pain Candidate can ‘save the day’/act as hero Must be believable, must represent a situation that resonates with target, candidate must be seen as legitimate hero – Disabled vets – Hurricane/storm victims – Poor, workers without health insurance

12 Another situation is brought on by the actions of the opponent – Villain who caused trouble, brought about suffering Happy situations are claimed as result of incumbent action – Results of past heroic action

13 Stories/Narratives Usually tales of overcoming setbacks, poor roots, trials in early life – Heroic quest stories Development of values, dedication, etc. Pride in background, accomplishments, heritage Led to decision to serve—to seek office

14 Cultural icons/symbolism Revered icons—flags, patriotic music, mom, apple pie, etc. – Church and religious symbols – Schools – Small-town America – Children as symbols of our future

15 The use of humor Humor is a risky choice – People may not get it – People may find it inappropriate for a political campaign – People may not think something is funny Sense of humor varies widely Humor can be especially useful if: – You want to take the edge off an attack ad – You need to deflect criticism – The humor identifies a target audience in a positive manner – It is self-deprecating

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