Political business quiet but not dormant


A candidate in the odd-year 2009 race for Governor of Virginia has provided a perfect example of how radio can be an effective political tool; and an early ad aimed at the 2010 South Carolina race underscores how television can be quietly effective.

The Democratic candidate in Virginia, Creigh Deeds, is locked in a very difficult race with Republican Bob McDonnell, and he faces a difficult proposition. He wants to make sure that Black voters in the state are motivated to support his candidacy, and for that, the perfect weapon is President Barack Obama. But Obama is losing support among other voter blocs in the state, making his use in the campaign a double-edged sword.

According to Politico, the answer is simple. Deeds is using Urban radio in Richmond, Norfolk and Roanoke, using radio’s ability to provide precision targeting, to make sure that the people who he wants to hear Obama – and only the people he wants – get the message.

Meanwhile, in South Carolina, Republican state AG Henry McMaster is gearing up for a primary challenge in the state of scandal-plagued Republican Gov. Mark Sanford. In a conservative state where family values are of primary importance, Sanford’s Appalachian Trail-Argentina connection has left a bad taste in voters’ mouths.

With Sanford out of the next race due to term limits, McMaster does not want or need to go negative — but he does want to underscore his own family values. According to Politico, in a television ad, he merely mentions that he stands tall for family values while the camera shows him with his happy, smiling family – an asset very much at his disposal.

RBR/TVBR observation: A candidate is a brand, and there is no reason that the same subtle and effective strategizing used by these two campaigns won’t work for any other brand somebody is trying to sell. Operators, don’t just sell spots – help a candidate – or business — effectively use your station and move them up to client status.