Karl Rove (don’t stop reading here just because you don’t care for Mr. Rove – neither do I!) wrote an interesting op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal last week, commenting on the state of the Presidential campaigns to date.
In the piece, Rove makes a few interesting observations:
Rove states that, contrary to conventional wisdom, TV ads for candidates are not as effective in moving the electorate as they once were. “Voters are discounting advertising…relying more on personal exposure, information from social networks, alternative information sources like talk radio and the Internet and local media coverage,” said Rove.
What Rove is saying is that PR works far better than advertising in moving people on an emotional level – an argument you may have read once or twice before on this blog. (As an aside, I would argue that the ascent of John McCain on the Republican side argues against the importance of talk radio, where the vitriol against the Arizona Senator has been non-stop, but that is probably just Rove throwing a bone to his buddies.)
Then, Rove drops a bomb on advertising, by suggesting that the PR person is more important to a candidate than the advertising person. “The 20th century’s closing decades saw the rise of the TV ad man as the most potent operator in presidential campaigns. The 21st century’s opening decade is seeing the rise of the communications director and press spokesman as the more important figures on the campaign staff,” he tells us.