Local expert discusses impact of political ads

With election day just over a week away, political advertisements are saturating local airwaves.

Posted: Oct 25, 2018 7:36 PM
Updated: Oct 26, 2018 8:16 AM

UTICA, NY-- With election day just over a week away, political advertisements are saturating local airwaves.

A local expert in advertisement, Chris Tingley, an assistant professor of marketing and strategy at Utica College, said any advertisement political or not, can influence viewers.

"Advertising certainly can work, but look at consumer products advertising can get us to buy $200 shoes, advertising can get us to go see a movie, it can get us to do so many things," he said. "Marketing and advertising can't change your mind, what they can do as they can influence us and advertising can influence us to do things that we wouldn't normally think of."

Tingely said people are often influenced by their emotions and fear can be a significant motivation.

"If you watch a lot of the ads we‘re seeing politicians or the people paying for their ads using as much fear is they can and there's a good reason for why we‘re seeing that, fear is a strong motivator for people in certain situations. If you have an election where people are undecided or it's really close or people are on the fence that is when using fear as a tactic can really make a difference.”

He said too many ads on one subject can push people into another direction entirely.

"Sometimes we scare people into apathy, I think one of the biggest problems were going to have in this election is that there might be a lot of apathetic voters."

Another issue with advertisements, it can be difficult for viewers to determine if the information is based on fact or not.

"There's a level where we don't want to get to slander and there's a level where we don't want to get into liable," he said. "But the lines for libel and slander are always very fine lines. There's a very fine line between saying something that's not true and referring to something that's not true."

There are some other tactics that work to influence viewers too.

"Third party testimonials are extremely powerful across the board in advertising," he said. "There's a reason for it, I might not know the person who's running but that person who's that mom... that local teacher, I can relate to the teacher, I can't relate to politicians, but I can relate to the teacher."

Some people are already tired of seeing the ads, including Scott Zoeckler, of Canastota.

"I'll just be glad when it's over, when we don't see so much of it anymore."

Tingley added that viewers should be skeptical of all advertisements.

"We always tell our kids that a pair of shoes is not going to make you run faster," he said. "Just be a smart consumer when you're watching those ads, remember that there's always some truth in advertising, but the truth in advertising is that it's advertising."

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