Ducking the issue: Where Was Tide?

The advertising community has long been accused of packaging politicians as if they were soap.

But Politicians have discovered negative advertising and now focus more on their competitors than they do on packaging themselves.  It is amazing how horrible their opponents and the opponents policies are.

Long term this kind of advertising has left all politicians at the bottom of the respect pole, the part where the public dog sniffs.  Why?  Because both the winner and the loser have been slammed and it sticks to all politicians.

The flimsy logic the political ads lean on would never pass the legal tests for product advertising, but it would sure be fun to get away with it like politicians do.

For example:

Voice over oil covered sea bird washed up on a beach.  “Tide says that it gets out oily dirt.  But where was Tide when the BP oil spill occurred?  When Exxon leaked oil into the Yellowstone River?  Or when the Exxon Valdez destroyed Prince William Sound, taking with it hundreds of seabirds, seals, whales and fish and thousands of Alaskan jobs.  Where was Tide?  I guess the Tide was out…
your clothes with a little Cheer.”

Hey, this is fun.  We could even take a consumer favourite and make it into a villain.

You want an honest computer to work from.  What about a Mac from Apple? …A company run by a Syrian orphan who dropped out of a left wing college.  Its a company that has made billions off the backs of your favourite music stars.  And now Apple wants to make even more from every telephone call, email or text message you make.  A company that tracks your every iPhone movement.  Can they be trusted?
Tell Apple go to H*** and buy yourself a Dell.

In political style advertising, it doesn’t matter if there is no logic to your allegations or if your claims about the competitor are totally spurious.  It is all done with allusion, innuendo and association.

The kind of shifty story that gave advertising a bad name.  And the kind that is not legal for commercial advertising.  If commercial advertising used the character assassinations in political advertising, it would create lawsuits and complaints to Advertising Standards Canada.

So why are there few legal and ethical standards on political advertising?  There should be.  But unfortunately we put the defining of standards into the hands of the winning politicians.  I invite you to send us similar commercial ideas for products, expressed as political ads.

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