Commentary

TV Marketers Shy Away From Political Issues

In key TV programming months to come -- including the highly watched Super Bowl, the Oscars or a high-profile 2020 political/election show -- marketers might not highlight any political issues.

This includes TV advertising for premium streaming services, eco-friendly automobiles, hair-coloring products, premium hotels, golf courses or anything else.

The reasoning? The New York Times says some brand executives have told ad agencies they are afraid of alienating customers or drawing the wrath of a Trump tweet. (That applies to key senior Congressional officials as well.)

Nothing like reigning in freedom of speech during a presidential election season. Political comedy, parody, sarcasm in TV commercials? Forget it.

Are we in a too politically correct, media-intensive world full of people worried about sounding out of line?  Well, not everyone. Have you seen President Trump’s tweets or impromtu press conferences lately? But an individual marketer’s brands might not have the heft, the endurance, the fight to stand behind those messages.

What are we left with? TV and film producers, “Saturday Night Live” skits, as well as late-night hosts who don't have a problem taking on Trump and other exotic political leanings.

That said, advertisers have no problem buying an media schedule on networks TV shows that can poke fun, politically-speaking. All this gives an appropriate distance when it pairs ads with content.

Few TV marketers will sit on the sidelines during major TV viewing periods -- The Super Bowl, the Oscars, the Grammys or election events.

But the expected new record of TV political ads coming for 2020 -- especially for the presidential race -- will only exacerbate marketers’ issues.  Political advertising has the ability to preempt mainstream consumer TV advertisers, leaving many media schedules scrambling to find other outlets with decent consumer target reach.

Couple this with not finding a way to connect to timely, high-profile public sentiment/issues — that only makes the TV creative process harder.

1 comment about "TV Marketers Shy Away From Political Issues".
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  1. Tom Tyler from GCTVTexas, January 24, 2020 at 2:45 p.m.

    If the preservation of Free Speech had been left up to the advertising industry, the news media, the print media, Hollywood, the TV networks, and now the digital media and social media, Free Speech would have died long ago.
    It's the Constitution that has preserved Free Speech, and it's time that the industries mentioned above are forced to obey the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment, whether they like it or not.

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