Political Advertising

Political Advertising through the Ages

Campaign Advertising

Politicians hire Political consultants and political campaign staff to influence the voters. In the European Union, many European countries don’t allow to broadcast political messaging. With advertising power, the wealthy front runners in the campaign gain control of airtime and distort the whole campaigning process.

Paid advertisements are forbidden in UK and Ireland, however, political parties can have a small number of party-political broadcasts. Whereas the US has a no bar advertising for political advertising, that’s why their political members are all over the globe. Like in the last US elections, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were the most prominent names that popped up on the internet.

The political advertising in the past looked very different. In 1948, Harry S Truman was proud of shaking approximately 500,000 hands and covering 31,000 miles of ground across the nation. Now the politicians don’t need to cover so many miles. The media can walk many more miles a person can.
The propaganda is done through media like twenty seconds ads to the public done by US presidential candidate in 1952, it was named “Eisenhower answers America”, in these ads, he addresses the common the people’s questions in an auditorium, the whole process is filmed and converted into 20-second ads.

Vice President Nixon ran for the elections in the 1960s where he showed his political experience by tackling serious questions like the cold war and government corruption. This was a serious battle where on the other side, it was John F. Kennedy. Kennedy created approx. 200 commercials in his campaigns, out of these 200, 2 hit home- that’s one percent. One was a thirty-minute speech on religious tolerance. The second ad campaign run was the Kennedy Nixon debate in which Kennedy looked really confident while Nixon looked pale and uncomfortable.

Nixon was considered to be the apt successor but in the end, Kennedy won the campaign.

The daisy girl- The best example of negative advertising

This controversial commercial was run for Lyndon B. Johnson. The aggressive advertising or maybe the public emotion won the election for him.
In the ad, a young girl is shown picking off petals off a flower, after she’s finished counting, a countdown of a nuclear bomb starts. In the end, the ad appeals to vote for Lydon B. Johnson as the stakes are too high to stay at home.


In the modern world, memes are a tool. The ‘make America great again’ campaign by Donald Trump was mentioned once in 2016, to 12,294 times in Jan 2017. There were more memes featuring Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton which gave Trump a huge attention boost. It is also seen that these memes were more republican conservative.

Political Advertising in India

The Cable Television Network Rules of 1994 prohibited political advertisements. In 2004, the advertisements were allowed with the approval of committee created by Chief Electoral Officer, a returning officer and an expert, however, these advertisements can only be displayed by political parties whose headquarters are in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. This nationwide model applies to states too and the political party should be within a particular territory. In all the cases, the returning officer is the one who reviews all the submissions.
The parties don’t have permission to procure funds from private organizations and the funds that parties receive are non-taxable. The election commission has its own has its own set of rules, for example, every political party needs to stop advertising before 48 hours of the election. Politicians with criminal charges often are disqualified and riot inducing communal content is not allowed in the speeches.

Negative Campaigning

Many a times we wonder why do politicians only talk about other candidates, berating them and pointing them out. It is because in the past the research has shown that negative advertising has always been effective with time. And it’s a calculated move, they only say things that we want to hear.

Spending Records

The year 2018 in the US is breaking all the advertising records, creating chaos for local advertisers. Political parties have taken over the media and the advertising space with marketers scratching their heads. Approximately $9 billion was spent on political advertising in 2018. Following these figures closely we have $8.3 billion in 2014 and $7.2 billion in 2010. Surprisingly, TV is still seeking all the budget with 39% spent on broadcast TV and 12% on cable TV.

In India, the ad spend is expected to double to Rs 30 billion for the 2019 election campaign. Rs 15 billion was spent five years ago, of which approximately Rs 4 billion dollars was spent on social media.

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