Storytelling will be key in 2012 political campaigns

Political campaigns have come a long way from door-to-door greetings, mailings, and other grassroots efforts.

Political campaigns have come a long way from door-to-door greetings, mailings, and other grassroots efforts.  

Today's landscape includes cable advertising, often times with so much buy-in that newscasts are cut down to a mere 18 minutes. At Tuesday's Advertising Week Time Warner Cable Media panel on political advertising, Catherine "Kiki" McLean, global head of public affairs at Porter Novelli, and others discussed what's ahead for the 2012 election season.

"Storytelling now in political advertising is more important than ever," said McLean.

Creating a narrative and a "put people first" theme will also be a key differentiator in the space next year, she said. Before joining Porter Novelli, McLean served as senior advisor to then-US Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) presidential campaign, as well as those of Democratic candidates John Kerry, Al Gore, and Joe Lieberman.

However, a key obstacle for agencies and shops working on political campaigns are that the candidates themselves want to micromanage the strategy. Many times, they "have a lot to do with what happens," noted McLean.

Other takeaways from the event focused on social media.

Panelist Eric Sedler, managing partner at ASGK Public Strategies and a former Edelman executive, said although Facebook has changed significantly since 2008, it will still be used predominantly as a mobilizing platform in campaign work instead of a persuasion tool.

Meanwhile, Twitter will also be a hot platform to watch in terms of reputation management, he added.

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