05 October 2006

Political advertising: Gutsy and inexpensive can work

The Massachusetts gubernatorial race has an independent candidate, Christy Mihos. He recently began airing an animated 30 second spot that hits on a big issue in Mass: the massive cost over-runs on the Big Dig in Boston.

Animation is one of the earliest forms of advertising used on television. It still crops up from time to time, but one rarely sees an animated political spot these days. Rather, the political television spot has evolved in a particular pattern with most advertising for candidates following much the same general pattern.

Mihos obviously found a way to tackle an important issue, but in a light-hearted way. His message can potentially have a bigger impact by using humour and the novelty of animation.

Contrary to what some people would have you believe, good advertising doesn't need to cost a million bucks and be laden with expensive animation and a custom-tailored jingle all to push a pretty run-of-the-mill logo concept. If the provincial government here had actually listened to their top-notch marketing firm, their so-called branding campaign would likely look a lot different and have cost considerably less.

Word is that the suits on the Hill - or more accurately The Suit - kept getting in the way. Sometimes clients get into the process to help; sometimes they just hinder themselves by refusing to take the sound advice they are getting and that they paid for.

If Mihos doesn't make it in November, maybe someone here should see if he wants to change citizenship. At least, we can all take a lesson from a pol who has guts and isn't afraid to act on his instincts.