Commentary

Fear And Anger Are In Quite A Race

I’m not watching much over-the-air TV, and hardly anything live except sports and “Saturday Night Live.”  Previously, in a typical political year, I’d be nauseous by now, my head filled with the names of people who are "not right for [your state], not right for America.”

Unruly, the ad tech firm that scientifically monitors reactions and share-ability of commercials, has taken a look at a commercial for Donald Trump and one from Hillary Clinton and measured their effectiveness. I don’t think either has much to brag about.

On the Contempt-o-Meter, 16% felt contempt toward the candidate after watching the Trump ad, and 24% felt disgust. For Clinton, 17% felt contempt and 18% felt disgust. So there, you have it: By a pretty wide margin, based on these ads and this research, Hillary Clinton is far less disgusting than Donald Trump.

But overall, viewers of these ads aren’t feeling very warm and fuzzy toward either.

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Based on the research, only 38% of the people Unruly showed the Trump ad thought he would “make America great again” and that’s his big selling point.

Unruly tested a nationally representative sample of 1,091 people over the age of 18 using Unruly EQ’s biometric and emotional testing tools, including facial-coding tech from Afectiva. Unruly EQ is a content evaluation tool to gauge the emotional and business impact of ads.

What did Unruly find? Many of us really are angry and afraid. Among those watching the Trump ad, the “primal response” for 14% was fear, with 10% going to anger. For those watching the Clinton ad, 12% felt anger and 4% fear.

Is this advertising doing its work?

The Unruly data shows blacks (or “the blacks” as Trump often refers to them), Hispanics and women were far less positive toward Trump than Clinton. This testing took place before the latest Trump video outrage was in the news. Still, Unruly notes, “smiles from female viewers were a lot less common throughout Trump’s video.”

The takeaway I get is that if advertising is supposed to create converts, Hillary wins. With the Trump ad, 35% felt better about him after having viewed it; 47% felt better about Clinton after seeing her ad.

But if political advertising is expected to move the needle I’m not sure: 48% said watching the Trump ad didn’t make them feel different about him; 37% said Clinton’s ad didn’t do much to change their perception, either.

Maybe that’s good or bad about either candidate, depending on how that viewer felt coming into it. The commercials, on balance, aren’t doing much more than keeping the name out in the public. This year, that has not been a problem.

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pj@mediapost.com

 

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