Nothing but Reruns
11-20-2007
Late night is not the only time that you can see reruns on television these days. An item in today’s First Read confirms what those of us living in New Hampshire already suspect. The season of endless campaign advertisements on television is officially upon us. Reporter Mike Memoli counts 23 political commercials during just two newscasts on WMUR-TV. A quick look at the advertisement titles suggests that if you miss any at 6 p.m., you can catch reruns at 11 p.m.
 
I am not suggesting that campaigns should eschew political advertisements. Well-constructed ads can frame the vote choice quite persuasively. They can also provide useful shortcuts for voters interested in learning more about particular candidates, in an environment that is awash with political information.
 
Still, I have always sensed that the efficacy of the candidate ad blitz peaks well before the actual voting begins, and provides a campaign with a decreasing return on its investment over time. The sheer quantity, frequency, and repetition of these ads eventually combine to create political white noise, which New Hampshire voters are quite adept at tuning out. So, I am not yet at the point where I can recite the various scripts from memory, nor do I hear the familiar hum of white noise in my ears, but I do know that it won’t be long now.


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