Recently in Abuja, the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN at its 41st Annual General Meeting, put together a topic titled: Political Advertising, Perception Building and Voter Education, to chart a new course for purposeful political advertising in the country and voter education.

The body brought in Mr. Craig Smith, Senior Adviser for “I’ am ready for Hillary 2016 US Presidential election.”

In this reports by Vanguard, the way campaigns will touch the minds of the electorate is imperative, and these are things that aspirants should ponder about.

The realities on ground in terms of political advertising will determine the mindset of the electorate towards political parties. What the parties do to achieve this feat is another ball game.

Before now, political parties jump to the billboard to make various ‘unfounded political promises’ that never come to fruition, a promise that never aligned to the aspiration of the electorate.

Whether their campaign is skewed towards the need of the people does not matter to them, the important thing is to tell the electorates what they want to hear, and forget about the deliverables.

The parties never deemed it fit to carry out encompassing public opinion research to feel the pulse of the electorates on what their needs are.

To achieve results, research has to be carried out to determine what voters care about, who needed to be talked to. How campaign materials should be framed, and what follows after initial research based on the findings.

While describing politics as both an art and science, Smith who was emphatic that research will help political office seekers determine what voters care about, advised that political office seekers should inculcate the habit of researching into the minds of the electorate before embarking on political campaigns.

He however noted that one of the critical pieces in determining these messages whether be it a brand or political party is to determine ones audience, which polling does. In addition, he pointed out that this method will also help in the phrasing of political campaign materials.

Further, Mr. Smith warned that campaigners should be careful how much time and effort spent in talking, because some voters will never vote your candidate, and people will always vote for the candidate they want.

The words and actions of a candidate are important in conveying political messages, this includes not only what the candidate says, but where he or she goes, who they are seen with. What they are doing

Conveying messages:

Messages should be incorporated in everything the campaigner does, i.e in speeches, advertising and actions. Inclusion of pictures would do magic, since visual is worth more than 1,000 words. Careful choosing of medium is required whether for advertising, the candidate or free media events, proof point has to be given to validate their advertising claim (s), specific policies or actions are also important.

Pro’s and Cons’ of various media:

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Each medium has pro’s and con’s; Television- reaches the most people quickly, but indiscriminate in its target and very expensive. Cable Television-very effective, but requires the production of multiple expensive ads. Radio-good for targeting, but without visual is less memorable to voters.

Source: Vanguard Newspaper

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