“The Horse’s Mouth” – Political Advertising

Welcome to “The Horse’s Mouth” with Tom McManus, a unique talk show where guests belly up to the bar to discuss business, marketing, and life. No gossip, no hearsay, no BS, just the straight-up truth, right from the source.

Tom’s longtime love of bartending has come full circle since his days as a linebacker on the inaugural Jacksonville Jaguars football team—slinging drinks and talking shop with everyone from high-profile sports figures and entertainers to business leaders, journalists, and community leaders. Tom and guests trade insight and anecdotes, explore day-to-day topics and tackle the hard subjects, all with equal measures of energy, honesty, and laughter. Get the skinny on the real people behind the headlines, straight from the horse’s mouth.

This week, Tom spoke with Mike White and Wes Benwick from BluHorn, former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney of the Fiorentino Group, entrepreneur Paz Patel from Trent Trust Investments, and Wally Conway of HomePro Inspections.

Spending on political advertising is up 63-percent from last April. What do you think about this escalating emphasis on political advertising?

John Delaney

When I ran in 1995 we spent about a million dollars. They’re now running four and five million dollars for a mayor’s race. To get the message out, you’ve got to communicate and it’s all competition. You’ve got to keep up with the Joneses to be able to get your message out and get it out on multiple platforms.

Wally Conway

The question I always have in my mind is does ad change anyone’s mind or does the ad cause an action in a mind that’s already made up?

Paz Patel

That’s a good comment. I agree with that because I think most people have already made their minds up. They’re going to go on one side or the other.

John Delaney

There was a poll that said that you really can’t convince somebody of anything they don’t already believe in. I think the issue on the ads is are you reinforcing an image or an optic or a symbol that you’re trying to define as why you’re running or what you’re doing with the campaign.

Wally Conway

I think the other thing that can happen from that is that the opponent’s message, which is different to my own or is not my candidate’s, can result in me responding more than the people it is meant to reach. I am going to come out to go against rather than for my own guy.

John Delaney

Advertising in a lot of races is about name recognition. There are Democrats who are running for president that no one has ever heard of. So they are trying to bran themselves.

Mike White

What Trump was great at doing was playing the PR game. I think he spent around 50 million dollars or something at the end of the day, I could be wrong with the number, but he got so much in earned media value that it propelled the message out there and create the consistency. Political races, local ones, nowadays are costing upwards of a hundred and fifty thousand dollars. That’s just for a school board campaign and things like that. The spending just keeps going up and you have to ask yourself, when will it stop or reverse itself?

John Delaney

I don’t ever see it stopping. People want those jobs too bad and the stakes are too high. They’re very important, especially at the federal level. It used to be you had three TV stations, right? And you had your local paper and the New York Times influencing everything else. Now, you can find those that talk the language know whether it’s Fox or whether it’s CNBC. That’s probably a problem for the country because we don’t share a common vocabulary anymore.

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