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How Not to Make a Campaign Ad - Scott Adams' Blog

How Not to Make a Campaign Ad

The Clinton campaign came out with a new attack ad against Trump that features a number of Republicans trash-talking him. Let’s evaluate it for persuasiveness.

In the 2D world of reason and logic, the ad makes complete sense. Trump says he wants to be a unifier, and the ad shows a bunch of important Republicans saying bad things about him. They do not sound unified.

But no one cares about reason and logic.

Let’s evaluate the ad for its persuasiveness. 

Trump’s proposition is that the establishment is a bunch of useless losers and he can do better. The ad shows Trump being opposed by… a bunch of useless losers on the Republican side. Trump annihilated every one of them. And it wasn’t even hard.

Here’s what the ad does in terms of forming associations:

1. The ad lumps Clinton with the losing Republican candidates. They all share a dislike of the presumptive Republican nominee. Do they belong to the same club of establishment politicians who are ruining the country?

2. The ad shows that Trump is disliked by the Republican establishment. But that is his appeal, not his flaw. Trump already “fired” the losers in the video who are attacking him. Do you believe anything you hear from a disgruntled employee who just got fired?

3. When you remind viewers how many big-name politicians Trump has defeated, it makes him seem stronger.

4. Democrats, independents, and even some Republicans will see that Trump is an “enemy of their enemy” and bond to him.

On an emotional level, I experienced a wave of pity for Clinton while watching the ad. I mean that literally. Her advisers seem blind to the tools of persuasion. Other people who were blind to Trump’s powers of persuasion include Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Carly Fiorina. 

None of them will be your next president.

If you think this blog has words in it, you should see my book.

This is me sitting in my kitchen this morning where I write all my blog posts.