Campaigns Skirt Political Ad Rules by Paying Influencers
by Tim Dickinson
As political campaigning has become more prevalent in the last decade, so have the requirements for participating in it — political ads have to be created by political organizations, and they have to be funded by others.
The rules are as strict as they are on the rest of the electoral system, which means campaigns have to be aware of the rules and keep them to a minimum.
That does get to the question that I have frequently asked myself: why pay people to do the work of creating political ads when campaigns can do it on their own? The answer is always the same.
The ads created by political organizations need not be as high quality or as professional as the work of political ad creatives who work for campaigns. These ad creatives often have to go through several rounds of editing and fact-checking before a final ad is put out on a campaign website. In a lot of cases, the ad is not even placed on the campaign’s website until it has gone through at least a couple of rounds of editing. These ad creatives are paid to do the work of creating campaign ads in an office building in Washington, D.C., where they have no idea who may be watching them as they work. It makes more sense to pay them to create an ad on the internet, where they can take more risks and be more creative in their work. But even in this case, they need to be paid to do quality work.
Political organizations have paid more than a dozen ads created by political ad creatives for campaigns. Some of these ads have gone viral. One of the most effective was an ad from a candidate who won the presidential election for a new party in 2014 — it was paid for with a quarter million dollars and went viral. As political ad creatives, many of these candidates were paid to work in office in Washington, D.C., the same city where the campaign ads were created.
These ad creatives have all been asked to go through the same process of editing and fact-checking as political ad creatives who work for campaigns. But that does not mean that these election ads are not effective because they are just as good as the ads that are created for