Rep v. Dem: Breaking the Rules Right and Left
The inundation of the airwaves with election advertising has never been more nauseating—and inept. Besides the attacks and the misrepresentations, both Republicans and Democrats provide an endless stream of uninspired and predictable messaging. Does anyone really listen? What can designers learn while these groups waste billions of dollars breaking the cardinal sins of communication?
- A little repetition goes a long way
- You have to engage your audience
- Use a laser not a shotgun
- The medium is visual, so give people a visual reason to watch—They won’t listen if they aren’t watching!
In an Oct. 25, 2012, column for the Washington Post, Ned Martel nails the total failure of these campaigns to use advertising effectively. In “Could the pols use a bit of wisdom from the Mad Men,” he especially attacks them for bludgeoning everyone when marketers have known for generations that you target messages to key audiences, using their preferred media. That way:
- You don’t irritate people with ads they don’t care about and
- You reach your target audience with a well-crafted, tailored message that may cost more to create, but costs far less to deliver
Communication lessons for designers? Target! Both your message and your medium. Who’s your audience precisely, where do they look for information, what interests them? Is it the Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg, Wired, Absolute Sound? or Reaching out to the medical industry? Who is the contact you need? Tell engaging stories! Don’t rant, repeat, reduce, assume, talk down or beat your breast; rather, tell stories with personality geared to that particular audience’s interest. Make your examples personal, digestible, believable. That’s the difference between communication and strategic communication. Actually, sounds a lot like design, doesn’t it?