And the target? Not tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of voters. Just one guy in particular: President Donald Trump.
Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro reportedly placed a TV commercial ad on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” with this in mind. Through the ad, he spoke personally to the President, during a show that Trump watches regularly.
Castro, appearing inside an Iowa warehouse, said: “President Trump: You referred to countries as sh*tholes. You urged American congresswomen to ‘go back’ to where they came from. You called immigrants rapists.”
“As we saw in El Paso, Americans were killed because you stoked the fire of racists. Innocent people were shot down because they look different from you. Because they look like me. They look like my family,” continued Castro. “Words have consequences. ¡Ya basta! (Enough!)"
Now, of course, it isn’t just Trump hearing this. Lots of viewers watch the show. True addressable advertising — just targeting a handful of few consumers — would be expensive to buy.
How much did the Castro campaign spend on this “Fox & Family” media buy for this placement? We don’t know. But many sense that it was effective.
In the world of speaking, messaging and marketing, there is process and intent. When you speak to just one person — whether that person is in front of you, or imagine they are — your message can have a deeper impact.
In the coming 2020 presidential election, you will be seeing more of this, more advertising that is direct, quick and impactful as possible — especially on TV, which continues to reap benefits because of its reach. (That's even when critics talk about erosion of the platform.)
Will political addressable TV advertising be a thing? Not right now. But you might see more politicians run a number of different creative messages of this type.
Could this also work in other media platforms, including the ever-controversial social media? That would be even more costly — and perhaps iffy from a brand-safety point of view. We know there will be much more manipulation of social media content going forward.
Perhaps the key will come from something that can’t necessarily be altered: live political advertising. We’ll be watching and voting with our remotes.