967 days ago,
When it comes to campaign ads, bad is good.
Step 1: Scare people
Create doomsday scenarios. Make the young think nuclear holocaust is imminent; remind the middle-aged that Social Security is going bankrupt; tell old folks they’re going to have to start choosing between dinner and their meds. Your candidate, of course, is the only one who can turn things around.
Step 2: Pounce
Go over your opponent’s voting record and speeches to see what you can take out of context—and pounce when he stumbles.
Step 3: Imply something sinister
Imply something sinister about your opponent, like his secret motive for running for office is to promote polygamy or establish the Taliban in the U.S.
Be suitably vague in your implications—so they can’t be easily disproved.
Step 4: Find a catchphrase
Find a negative catchphrase that you can apply to your opponent — like 'Slick Willie' — then beat it like a dead horse.
Step 5: Dig up dirt
Dig up dirt. Don’t kid yourself—despite what voters say about wanting a 'clean campaign,' they eat up scandal, especially if it’s salacious.
Make sure the dirt is fresh. Research shows people love a new scandal, but get annoyed with ads that repeat old, well-known infractions.
Step 6: Stay negative
Above all, stay negative. Research shows that negative attacks on one’s political opponents are far more effective than self-promotion.
Did You Know?
President Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 'daisy commercial' - in which a 6-year-old girl is shown picking daisies just before a nuclear bomb explodes - was called 'the dirtiest ad ever done.'