Campaigns to help maximize exposure
November 7, 2007
Filed under News
Politicians at all levels of government, regardless of political affiliation, must campaign in the area they want to represent in order to be elected.
The primary objective in any political campaign is “to maximize (the candidate’s) exposure,” according to Bakersfield College political science professor Cornelio Rodriguez. “Name recognition is what’s going to get a person elected into office.”
There are three primary elements to every political campaign, which are “message,” “money,” and the “machine,” according to campaignrhetoric.com.
The “message” is a statement that attempts to convince an electorate to choose the candidate. It usually revolves around an issue going on in the electoral area and is the most important aspect of the campaign. Modern Western media outlets have reverted the “message” to a “soundbite,” or a brief excerpt from a speech or interview that attempts to sum up the theme of the presentation.
Every political campaign requires “money,” given out by either large corporations or supportive citizens. The money is necessary to buy promotional materials for the politicians’ campaign. Campaign finance is often equated to bribery, as some believe large corporate donors expect something in return.
A political staff, or “machine,” works behind the scenes of the person campaigning to try and assure their success. Political analysts, speechwriters and campaign advertisers, as well as a campaign manager, depending on the size of the electorate, are necessary to ensure the political strategy is being followed through.
There are a number of techniques for effective campaign advertising, according to Wikipedia, including: personal appearances, television advertisements, direct mailing, “whistle-stop” tours and using the Internet.
Politicians will look for “unique opportunities” to make appearances at organizations that they feel either line up with their political beliefs, said Rodriguez. At these appearances, Rodriguez said, it’s important that politicians maintain a consistent stance on the issues. “Those that end up waffling too much will come across that way,” he said.
A “whistle-stop” tour, so named because they were originally performed from a train’s caboose, is when a politician makes a number of brief appearances at small towns.
One relatively new element of political advertising in “microtargeting,” or creating targeted political advertising, which is directly mailed to a specific group of people and based on demographic information, in a manner similar to mass-market segmentation.
“Technology has had a tremendous” affect in shaping the way political campaigns are conducted today, according to Rodriguez. Politicians now have Web sites, where they can promote themselves and generate public interest in their proposals.
One campaign advertising strategy politicians use, is to bash the opposing candidate while promoting themselves, a technique pejoratively referred to as “mudslinging,” according to dictionary.com.
“Mudslinging” is good for pointing out the shortcomings of a candidate that normally wouldn’t be disseminated, but may be information contorted in the candidates’ image.
Political campaigns in the United States during the 19th century paved the way for mass campaigning. It developed the concept of the campaign team, then called an “army,” promotional techniques and internal campaign finance.
The first modern campaign tour is considered to be the Midlothian Campaign of 1880, a series of speeches by United Kingdom Prime Minister William Gladstone about the mistreatment of the Bulgarian people by Ottoman Turks, according to historyhome.co.uk.