Wednesday, January 4, 2012

If negative campaigning works, why does MacDonald's not use it?

It is only in politics that people have decided negative ads are a good way to gain 'customers'.   You are not going to find negative campaigns when people are trying to make money from advertising.

Why is Pepsi not running negative ads about Coke?    This a is a very clear 'two party' race and one would think that if negative campaigning worked, it would work here.   Pepsi could easily run ads pointing out how bad drinking Coke is for you, everyone out there knows drinking Coke is not something you should be doing regularly.    You can see the problem here, if Coke is bad, so to is Pepsi.  Th e impact of running this sort of an ad campaign would be destroying the market for both products, people would quit drinking as much pop.

OK, how about if dairy ran adds about how bad Coke is for you?   You would think it would be a very easy sell.   So why do they not do it?  Because it does not work.

In politics all negative campaigning does is turn people off of being active in politics.   Parties do not gain voters from another party by crapping all over them.   All they do is turn off the public from voting.

To be even more clear about this, there is no research showing negative campaigning will gain you votes.   All it does is reduce the size of the electorate and thereby you might win because you lost fewer supporters than the party you crapped on.   I know of no example in any election where a negative campaign increased the total vote a party achieved.   Prove me wrong if you can think of any.  

The classic example is the 1979 "Labour is not working" campaign UK, but there is nothing to indicate in that election that this ad changed the election.  The campaign was only a reflection of the zeitgeist and did not create it.  Even then, the total vote for the Labour party did not fall.  The big losers in that election were the Liberals and the Scottish Nationalist Party, who were not the targets of the ads.

At the moment there are about 700,00 people in BC from the mild centre left to the centre right that are not voting.   They are not voting for a number of reasons, but the single biggest one is because they have been told over and over again that the BC NDP and the BC Liberals are awful parties and should not be supported.   These people represent more or less the same amount of the vote the BC NDP and BC Liberals managed to get in 2009.   Tapping into half of those people with a positive reason to vote for a party would be more than enough to win a huge landslide election.

At some point someone is going to figure out that positive ads and messages actually do work and that these companies spending billions of dollars on positively marketing their products actually know what they are doing.
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