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Political Commercials: Are They Effective?


The use of media outlets to influence political debates and sway voter opinion is an integral aspect of political campaigns. Candidates use these platforms to sell their ideas and castigate opponents in an attempt to win the people’s favor. Political advertisements have both negative and positive influences on their audiences. Different political outfits choose issues that Americans feel strongly about to guide the direction their campaigns take. They use a variety of techniques, such as using shocking images, various types of background music and noise, and subliminal messaging. The effectiveness of a political advertisement depends on its ability to evoke a deep emotional response by highlighting pertinent social and political issues that affect the target audience.


Overall, the commercials were effective in making their candidates look good. The first advertisement featured a war veteran dedicated to ensuring that unstable individuals are denied access to dangerous weapons. The second features a candidate who is unusually obsessed with working for his people. The third features the NRA’s support for gun ownership to defend against attackers (Flores, 2016). The candidate the advertisement supports comes across as a caring individual focused on keeping women safe. The fourth advertisement is an appeal to the people to support a candidate in a party that champions women’s suffrage. It is vital to note that the last commercial advocates for diversity by empathizing how members from minority communities give their lives to maintain the nation’s security. All the candidates spoke on issues that affect a majority of Americans in an attempt to appear appealing.

The first advertisement by Jason Kander fills its audience with fear, given the fact that the candidate assembles a gun blindfolded with ominous music playing in the background. It influenced my opinion negatively, and I was prompted to seek more information on the candidate. The advertisement was undoubtedly memorable given the severity with which it supported the right to own guns, given the prevalence of gun violence in the United States. It is worth pointing out that the stillness of the narrator’s voice as the different parts of the gun clicked into place were particularly disturbing. The evident expertise in handling a weapon capable of significant devastation influenced my views negatively. However, the support of background checks for potential gun owners, in addition to the fact that Kander served in the military, helped influence my opinion positively. Despite the clear defense of Americans’ Second Amendment Rights, the advertisement left me feeling hopeful that, at the very least, criminals would not have easy access to assault rifles.

Commercial 1 and 2

The political group that sponsored the first commercial got their money’s worth given the effectiveness of their message. The advertisement was focused on making the audience anxious about the opposing candidate in an attempt to make them reconsider their voting decisions. It evidently appeals to the people’s feelings of pride and enthusiasm by ensuring that the candidate speaks about his deployment in the military. The political group is clearly focused on leveraging the citizen’s support for the troops to make their candidate appealing. In addition, by highlighting the importance of background checks, they reassure individuals with concerns regarding gun ownership that safety measures will be implemented to ensure weapons do not fall into the wrong hands.

The second commercial’s sponsors did not get their money’s worth with regard to the advertisement. While the candidate’s desire to serve his constituents was a positive trait, the endless chatter regarding work in all aspects of his life was unrealistic. He talks about legislative and policy issues when eating, cooking, cleaning the dishes, and doing the laundry (Flores, 2016). The images used highlighted dissatisfied friends and a disinterested wife whose sole intention was to get her husband out of the house. It even appears as though the candidate’s wife is appealing to the people to solve a domestic problem.

Commercial 3

The candidate supported by the third commercial won the elections. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in 2016 by winning in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Carolina (BBC, 2020). It is worth noting that Clinton lost the election despite winning 48% of the popular vote while Trump managed 47% (BBC, 2020). This is because she did not achieve the 270 minimum electoral vote requirement, gaining 232 votes compared to Trump’s 306 (BBC, 2020). It is worth noting that during the Republican Party retained its dominance over the House of Representatives and the Senate. Trump’s appeal to the American people’s desire to maintain their Second Amendment Rights played a critical role in securing his victory. By demonstrating that owning a gun can be the difference between life and death, his campaign team persuaded vulnerable sections of the population to vote for a candidate determined to keep them safe.

Comparison to Current Political Environment

Even though the commercials were created over five years ago, they are still relevant today. Carly Fiorina’s advertisement emphasizes the roles women play as leaders in political organizations, communities, and businesses (Flores, 2016). She highlights the importance of women’s suffrage and the steps her party has taken to address the issue. Several years after the 19th Amendment was passed, the fight for women’s suffrage persists (Bleiweis et al., 2020). Many minority women are denied the right to vote through voter suppression schemes, the denial of citizenship, and racial discrimination. Many minority women are unable to fully participate in America’s democracy due to limited voting rights (Bleiweis et al., 2020). Women are significantly underrepresented in Congress and top management positions. In addition, they receive less pay compared to their male counterparts, which leaves them economically disadvantaged.

The final advertisement highlights minority populations’ place and contributions to American society. It tells the story of a non-white American soldier who lost his life defending his team in a war zone (Flores, 2016). He sacrificed his life so that other soldiers and, by extension, the American people can be safe. Current political debates are focused on immigration and the inclusion of minorities in American society. Laws governing the detention of illegal residents and their ability to access healthcare and employment opportunities are at the center of political debates. The issues presented in the last two commercials are critical in shaping today’s political environment.


Political commercials are designed to highlight a candidate’s best features and ideas. The use of sound and the identification of specific consequential issues are some techniques political outfits use to increase their candidates’ appeal. Each organization designs campaigns aimed at ensuring that the chosen individual wins in the election. However, the unintended arousal of negative views from the target audience may limit an advertisement’s effectiveness. Even though the aforementioned commercials were created years ago, the issues they articulated are still relevant in contemporary politics.


BBC. (2020). US election 2016 results. Web.

Bleiweis, R., Phadke, S., & Frye, J. (2020). 100 years after the 19th amendment, the fight for women’s suffrage continues. Center for American Progress. Web.

Flores, R. (2016). Here are the top 5 ads of the 2016 election cycle. CBS News. Web.


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