Political advertising can teach us many things about marketing, whether it be the need for boots on the ground, the impact of direct mail, the power of big data, why TV still matters.
Or how cutting through the clutter with a viral hit that gets you millions of free media impressions can be a completely useless thing.
You may have heard of Joni Ernst. She's a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Iowa. She hasn't even made it through the primaries yet, but she's bubbled up into national news coverage twice. Not because of her policy ideas, not because she's won the endorsement of Sarah Palin, but rather because of her advertising.
"Squeal," which broke in March, put her on the map with its opening line. "I'm Joni Ernst. I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm, so when I get to Washington, I'll know how to cut pork."
That's a hell of a first impression. The last line, delivered after some visuals of smiling Joni intercut with some piglets: "Let's make them squeal." Ouch!
"Shot," which broke last week, features leather-jacket wearing Joni pulling up to the gun range on her Harley, where she unloads on targets -- just like she'll do with Obamacare, etc.
Political media adores ads like these because, let's face it, political advertising is often awful, boring or both. So when someone sets off a firecracker in the lecture hall, everyone goes nuts.