political adverts are communicated on a literal and semiotic basis.
In this section will
assess data I have collected from emarkerter.com showcasing where US
advertisers invested their money in 2012 & 2016 for both political and commercial
purposes. This information will help me to reach an overall conclusion
assessing the extent of how advertising transforms when the people desire adverts
on parties and candidates to allow them to form decisions, and how over 4 years
advertising as a practice has incorporated new mediums to communicate ideas.
Below are 4 pie charts I have constructed listing expenditure in 2012
and 2016 in America for commercial advertising and political advertising. In
the USA in 2012, a total of $165.0 billion was spent commercially and $8.8 billion
solely into politics. 4 years later the commercial figure rose to $190.9
billion, as did political to $10.2 billion.
To study how
advertising has progressed over 4 years to begin with, it’s interesting to note
the substantial rise of digital communications. In 2012 digital advertising was
responsible for 22% of total advertising expenditure, in 2016 this grew to 30% thanks
to $20.5 billion rise in spending and looks likely to continue to grow as it
swallows up TV’s longstanding majority. Television’s wane is identifiable when
we note the sizeable $8.6 billion increase in spending only reflects a 38%
share, compared with 2012’s 39%.
When we look at the
political statistics, unlike in commercial, Television holds an undisputed
grasp of the practice for 2012 and 2016. Hanekom & Scriven discuss Bonello
(2000) who “agrees that organisations realise that there is still no substitute
for traditional media when it comes to generating brand awareness effectively.
Traditional media may not be as cost effective as online advertising, but are
more functional if advertisers want to make a huge impact quickly, because they
present concentrated forms of advertising media”. Politicians nowadays have to
become brands, and come election time, sudden, unforgettable, impactful
campaigns can be all the difference, so the commitment to television as the
main media implement is more than understandable. Spenchkuch & Toniatti would
argue that TV is so readily favoured by advertisers due to it’s outreach, “TV ads placed through local broadcast networks attract
the lion’s share of funds because they reach a large number of potential voters
in key geographic areas”. With the electoral collage system in use in America, election
outcomes are most often determined by individual “Swing states”. It’s paramount for politicians that residents
of these states receive their campaigns and television is the most effective
way of ensuring this, hence it’s sizable share of investment. TV has been an
institution in US households for over a century now, understood by Americans of
all ages and demographics hence it’s political preference. Despite the
potential of digital communication, we are still experiencing it’s infancy and
this is reflected in the charts.
contrary, the evidence I have collected suggests political advertisers are in
fact mimicking the general trend to incorporate digital advertising as the means
to reach consumers ahead of TV. In 2016, digital advertising only reflects a
9.8% share but this on the backend of a 500% rise in spending from $200 million
to $1 billion. A potential reason for this is a study from IAB.com, who has
found how digital media now matches
traditional as the trusted source of information on presidential candidates (61%
for both digital and TV) and political issues (67% for digital vs. 69% for TV)
among registered U.S. voters. Faith has grown in digital advertising, and with
the value placed on the right to vote it’s extremely beneficial to be perceived
as a reliable source of information. From the perspective of advertisers,
digital is regarded as equally effective as it is simple. Winograd and
Hais (2008, 154) argue that “Internet politics present the possibility of an
end to the ever rising cost of thirty-second television campaign commercials,
and the time-consuming and potentially corrupting need to raise the money to
pay for them” Winograd and Hais (2008, 154). Digital’s surge, they add, “will
cause television to lose its role as the primary medium for campaigns to get
their messages out to voters in the near future” (Winograd and Hais 2008, 163). Digital looks set to be
the future of not just advertising but several prominent aspects of modern culture.
It’s potential to captivate and inspire can be observed here in the UK, specifically
with Jeremy Corbyn and the labour party who in 2017, as Andrew Chadwick puts it
“Rather than dissolving, Labour looks
like it is going through a long-term process of adaptation to postmaterial
political culture and is leading the way in new organizational strategies that
combine online and offline citizen activism”. Labour defied the odds in 2017,
earning an impressive and totally unexpected 40% of votes that year, which many
attribute to their savvy digital campaign targeting young people. and for
Labour a reported 63% of young people turned out to vote for their cause.
“Labour is being renewed from the
outside in, as digitally enabled citizens, many (though not all) of them young
people, have breathed new life into an old form by partly remaking it in their
own participatory image”.
According to marketing firm Giles-Parscale, July alone
Trumpsink $8.4m into digital marketing, dwarfing rival Hillary
Clinton’s $132,500 spend in the channel over the same month.
Trump’s aversion to TV ads was well documented in the run up
to polling day, with the president-elect only releasing his first ‘Make America Great Again’ broadcast
spot in August. The Republican candidate’s unprecedented lack
of TV spend clearly had an effect on broadcast TV political revenues, with the
medium seeing its 58% market share dip to 45% since the last election.
Digital has grown
Only a small
shrinkage, digital’s seizing of TV is most likely to continue as Hanekom &
Scriven discuss in their article Traditional and
online advertising: an explanation of current and future trends: “the WWW could now be the most cost-effective media channel at
advertisers’ disposal, because it has descended from a ‘premium-priced, highly
targeted interactive buy’ to a potential communication channel for many traditional
marketers. The rates for Internet advertisements are now lower than those of
cinema, television, press, magazines and radio,” “Production of online
advertising material is still very cost effective compared with that of
traditional media. In most cases it is more cost-effective to place online
advertising online than in traditional media (Chapman 1998)”.
This can be attributed
to the simplicity and freakish potential of digital advertising, and the surge
of consumers who’ve embedded digital products into their everyday lives within
the last 10 years who are under pursuit by marketers and businesses.
digital decreases as
does everything %
As displayed in the
above pie charts, there are common trends in the mediums adverts are conveyed by.
Radio, unsurprisingly holds the smallest share in both as advertisers are lured
by TV & Digital’s seemingly endless possibilities. And it’s these two
mediums who display comfortable dominance in both. TV does have the edge when
the message is political however, and this will be most likely due to the
findings of a 2015 study conducted by Nielsen, who found that TV advertisements
still have the greatest audience capacity, reaching 87% of US adults weekly. http://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/reports-downloads/2015-reports/total-audience-report-q1-2015.pdf
The report goes on to
say how on average an adult will spend 7.5 hours a day in front of the TV
screen at the beginning of the year, this is more time than they spend on their
smartphones and computers. Despite digital taking
a smaller chunk than TV, since 2012 it’s share has grown 789% from $159 million
according to Borrell and Associates and is expected to become the most popular
channel for advertising by 2020. It begun to demonstrate it’s potential this
year in the UK, as Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour received staggering and totally
unanticipated wins in the House of Commons despite every major publicist
belittling their chances. This was widely attributed to Labour’s intelligent
online strategy, speaking to the young people where you’re most likely to find
them: social media.
Economist speaks highly of digital advertisings potential in a political
context as “Political ads can be targeted with high precision
using the personal data held by social networks, allowing canvassers to pick
and choose whom they talk to: parents, pensioners or Economist readers.
Digital advertising also allows campaigners to be more
efficient with their budget, it nullifies the need for grand expansive TV
campaigns to be broadcasted on all the major networks in the hope you’re target
audience is listening and welcomes small scale but extremely precise
advertising personally connecting with who you wish to speak to.
With all this in consideration, TV still takes the upper hand and this maybe due to it’s more
trustworthy nature. A survey from MarketingSherpa in 2017 found that 82% of
Americans place the most trust in Newspaper advertisements and 80% put their
faith in TV ads over newer forms of communication like digital. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/print-ads-in-newspapers-and-magazines-are-the-most-trusted-advertising-channel-when-consumers-are-making-a-purchase-decision-300424912.html Political advertisements arguably carry
the most important message out of any style of advertisement, so it’s no
surprise with such weight riding on them campaign teams favour what they’re
familiar with and what the consumers value.
summarise, there are very minor differences in how corporate and political
adverts are conveyed. Digital and TV take prominence in both due to their long
standing reputation and they’re untapped potential for the future.
HOW POLITICAL ADVERTS ARE COMMUNICATED AND
THEIR CAPABILITY TO INFLUENCE