Washington, DC is one of the nation’s most expensive media markets, and for good reason: the demographic is high-earning – and more importantly – it contains the vast majority of our nation’s influencers. The nation’s leading influencer – President Trump – is a noted television consumer, and so corporations and causes have taken to the airwaves in droves in efforts to reach him with their message.
But in the mad dash to connect with the most powerful man on earth, a great many of these advertisers skip over two of the most important components of effective advertising: clear messaging and high-quality production.
Some issue advertisers struggle because their advertising fails to effectively speak to the President, Congress or average, everyday Americans. These ads are bogged down by wonky jargon and inaccessible, industry-specific information that’s immensely difficult to grasp in thirty seconds. While well intentioned, they come across about as effectively as the videos that open those boring industry conferences that people only attend for the open bars – not as serious efforts to educate outside influencers and change minds.
No matter the audience, effective ads organize and present information in a clear, concise and creative manner. Rather than trying to demonstrate the importance of their message through raw facts and figures, great ads have a built-in sense of passion and poetry that compels audiences to connect with the message and feel a sense of urgency. Striking that balance when crafting an ad campaign can make all the difference.
Too frequently, DC-based issue advocacy campaigns are also hobbled by poor production. President Trump was the executive producer and host of one of the most successful reality television shows in history, “The Apprentice,” which was nominated for several Emmys during its run. He understands how good production happens and what it looks like – which was why, when it came time to shoot the ads for his Presidential campaign, our team hired the crew that previously lit him on “The Apprentice.”
Interest groups understandably don’t want to blow the budget on fancy film shoots, but if a qualified prospective employee walked into your office with a wrinkled shirt and disheveled appearance, followed by one who is equally qualified but dressed far more professionally, which candidate would you be inclined to hire? The same is true for advertising; advertisers and interest groups can have the best message in the world, but if they don’t take the production process seriously enough, the power of that message will be severely undercut.
Today, advertisers have an unprecedented opportunity to cut out the middlemen in $4,000 suits crawling the streets of DC and get their issue and their message in front of the most important influencer in the country. But to best communicate their message, they are going to have to put their old practices behind them and instead focus on clear messaging and serious production.
Otherwise, they run the risk of their media buy running dry and their message falling on deaf ears.