Brands need not fear sharing ad space with political ads

This election season will bring an estimated $4.4 billion in spending on 8 million ad airings on traditional broadcast media alone over the current election cycle.

The author(s)

  • Pedr Howard Senior Vice President, US, Creative Excellence
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The crush of often misleading and divisive messages is enough to give pause to brand marketers whose ads will share that same space. But new Ipsos research shows that political ads won’t hinder brands from being able to tell their truth. In other words, they are just as able to cut through all that distraction as any other types of ads in their pods. This insight came from Ipsos’ Creative | Spark assessment tool for quickly evaluating and optimizing creative. The results showed that being surrounded by political ads virtually had no effect on people’s awareness, memory or linkage to the advertised brands. Moreover, 78% of consumers surveyed said that the political ads had no impact on how they received brand ads. The style of ads, however, did make a difference. Uplifting brand-building creative broke through the political haze better by 7%. Conversely, the sales-focused ads saw a 13% slide in branded impressions. In addition, viewers’ political leanings do influence viewers in what they give their attention to and how brands stand up on hot-button issues.

Here are four tips for preparing for election cycle success:

Don’t fear the changed environment. There’s no inherent bias to performance in the highly polarized, political context of an election. Brands can expect advertising success, on average, at the same level as any other time on the calendar. Know the affiliation of your target. Independents are most likely to tune out, while Democrats are most supportive of brands taking a stance on hot topics. A positive, uplifting message could stand out more. Great creative always stands out, and in a potentially negative campaign, a style that contrasts this could see a pop in effectiveness. This signals brand-building as a better opportunity, compared to sales-focused promotional campaigns. If you take a stand, stay the course. Plan for potential negative backlash, either at the time of airing or even after the election. If you believe in the brand purpose, and it’s strategically sound, don’t let a few loud voices scare you into reversing course.

The author(s)

  • Pedr Howard Senior Vice President, US, Creative Excellence

Media & Brand Communication