Ad Council Steps Into Political Arena With Cheeky Voting Ads

Satirical Spots Ask Viewers to Elect Food Items to Public Office

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The Advertising Council is stepping squarely into the political arena with a series of ads touting prospective candidates in the coming fall elections. Among the candidates it's supporting: "old relish packet," "bag of leaves" and "side of hash browns."
A new campaign promotes political participation by asking, 'If you are not voting, then who are you electing?'
A new campaign promotes political participation by asking, 'If you are not voting, then who are you electing?'

With tongue placed firmly in cheek, the push, for the Federal Voting Assistance Program -- from West Wayne, Atlanta -- aims to get people out to vote by making the point, "If you are not voting, then who are you electing?"

'A condiment with values'
In the relish-packet spot, a woman exhorts, "We need a condiment with values," while a spot promoting "frozen peas" for U.S. Senator suggests the candidate is "committed to support the growth of our children and effective at lowering bad cholesterol."

The campaign includes radio and print and points to a website, payattention.org, which details registration and voting procedures. This is the Ad Council's first campaign done specifically for a midterm election.

But it may be necessary. During the last 2002 midterm elections, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates only 19.4% of 18- to 24-year-olds voted. And the Ad Council said a survey conducted for it by Lightspeed Research in June 2005 found that less than one in five 18- to 24-year-olds could name a candidate in an upcoming state or local election.
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