Zogby: “Iowan Republicans may have long ago grown tired of Mr. Romney’s ubiquitous presence. ‘You can advertise too much,’ he said. ‘People get tired of seeing the same old face, and he went negative. Iowans didn’t like it'”

“WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) — Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton learned a basic truth of marketing the hard way: All the media weight in the world isn’t going to help if people don’t like the message or the product,” writes Ira Teinowitz in an Advertising Age article titled Iowa Upends Political-Ad Wisdom; Bigger Ain’t Necessarily Better, Men Can Sell to Women and Gen Y Does Know How to Caucus

[…] Not only did Iowa deliver a blow to the presumptive leaders in each party, it also roughed up a few bits of conventional wisdom. Among the marketing and political clichés that took a beating: Today’s youth are tough to reach, disengaged and won’t vote; women respond best to women; and negative advertising usually works. Oh, yeah, and the guy with the biggest spend wins […]

[…] John Zogby, president-CEO of polling firm Zogby International, said the results signal that it’s not only the amount of advertising that determines victory but also the message. He suggested that Mr. Huckabee emerged as a likable Ronald Reagan type and that his quick rise left little time for opponents to point out any questions about his record.

“Some people caught the mood of the nation. Some people didn’t,” said Fred N. Davis III, a GOP consultant and head of Strategic Perception, Los Angeles.

Or as Mr. Huckabee put it to Jay Leno the night before the caucuses: “People are looking for a presidential candidate who reminds them more of the guy they work with rather than the guy that laid them off.” (Mr. Huckabee also noted in interviews that his was a victory for “message over money.”)

But that’s not to say “the message” should be confused with policy positions. In essence, Mr. Huckabee was running against the establishment. Mr. Davis argues that it wasn’t so much Mr. Huckabee’s stances voters liked; it was that they disliked Mr. Romney presenting himself as an establishment candidate. Mr. Huckabee’s successful use of videos featuring Chuck Norris also helped in that regard […]

[…] Roy Sekoff, founding editor of the Huffington Post, said in the short term, Iowa also generated a strong evangelical turnout for Mr. Huckabee, but Mr. Romney’s advertising had problems. “It seemed as though, given the extensive amount of advertising, the more they saw, the less they liked,” he said.

And Mr. Zogby pointed out that Iowan Republicans may have long ago grown tired of Mr. Romney’s ubiquitous presence. “You can advertise too much,” he said. “People get tired of seeing the same old face, and he went negative. Iowans didn’t like it.”

While Mr. Huckabee pulled his own fair share of jabs and sucker punches, many of them were thrown off the air or quickly forgotten by the media, whereas Mr. Romney’s ads were in heavy rotation.

Again, that’s not to say that advertising doesn’t work. Good advertising — or at least inoffensive advertising — should help. Mr. Obama’s $10 million broadcast buy obviously contributed to his victory. But again, it was the anti-establishment message — one similar to Mr. Huckabee’s — that Mr. Obama provided that seems to have resonated […]

Yes. Thank you. These are strings on which we have harped for months.

In sum, you must have a message. You must have a message that connects with people. How do you know if your message is successful? ROI, children. ROI. Can your message pay for itself? Or does it require huge subsidies to—or, in Romney’s case, complete saturation—to deliver. This was our constant fixed point in our discussion of Romney: ROI.

Also remember, children, a message is subject to the laws of diminishing marginal returns JUST LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE IN THIS WORLD.

Too little stimulus and no one notices or remembers. But too much and people stop listening. What you want is the mean, the golden mean, and this is Romney’s fatal flaw: the man has no subtlety, no sense of proportion.

The most successful messages will not persist in their effectiveness, but must be continually, continuously renewed, just like everything else in nature.

About going negative: it can be effective to go negative provided that your negatives are not higher than your opponent’s, and no one’s negatives are higher than Romney’s. If they are, you lose. Here is where we explain why:

Rasmussen Reports: Romney has the least core support, and the most core opposition of all the leading candidates, Republican or Democrat—these findings predict the sudden and fierce backlash against Romney’s negative attacks on other candidates

yours &c.
dr. g.d.


  1. 1 point and counterpoint on Romney’s viability with commentary « who is willard milton romney?

    […] Problems with Mitchell’s line of argument: (a) Romney’s use of television has delivered a wildly low ROI even where Romney has won. And Romney’s saturation tactics have more often than not backfired on the candidate. Question: Has Romney learned how to use the medium effectively in so short a time? Was Michigan a special case? Perhaps, perhaps not. See: Zogby: “Iowan Republicans may have long ago grown tired of Mr. Romney’s ubiquitous presence. ‘… […]

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