If you live in Central Virginia, you probably grew tired of the incessant political ads on TV long before they stopped running. Join the club.
The campaigns and their allies spent heavily to punish viewers with a drumbeat of mostly negative spots. You know the routine: Stark imagery, unflattering pictures, boldface text, and ominous voice-overs. The spots leave people feeling their intelligence has been insulted, and they need to take a shower to boot.
This year, according to data compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project, the Northam and Gillespie campaigns — and those aligned with them — spent just a hair under $5 million in the Richmond market on media buys. Most of the advertising was done on television — probably because newspaper readers are too smart and well-informed to fall for it.
Nobody likes negative advertising, but political insiders say it works. (Are they right? If you find such ads persuasive, write to email@example.com and let us know.) We’re not so sure, ourselves. The real advertising pros — the ones who work on the accounts of major corporations — seem to do very little of it. When is the last time you saw an ad for Big Box Store A warning you that Big Box Store B sells inferior products at inflated prices and its workforce policies are bad for America?