We’ve all experienced it and lately more than ever … media burnout from all the negative political ads. People all around the country turn off their TVs and tune out of their favorite radio station when the political ads dominate the airwaves. Wisconsinites have seen and heard more than their fair share of political ads this year and more is yet to come. With another presidential election on the horizon, the question marketers are asking is, “Should I advertise in the middle of a political season and if so, how can I make myself stand out?”

Start by asking yourself if advertising is necessary during the political campaign. If you can wait to run your campaign, go ahead and wait. You’ll avoid the higher rates, the negative climate, and you won’t have to worry about having your campaign bumped. However, if you need to keep the campaign going, there a couple key strategies that will save you headaches and help you achieve marketing success during this stressful time.

  1. Plan early. Book your campaigns early enough to reserve your schedule before the political ads are placed.

  2. Work on your rates. No, this does not mean negotiate the lowest price. In this case, it means negotiate a “better” price. Negotiate a price that is less likely to get bumped by political ads. Work with your media reps and ask them what rates will stick.

  3. Be creative. Candidates mainly focus on radio and TV buys. Can you work around them? Use billboards, direct mail, social media, and online ads, where inventory is readily available, to get your message out. If you need to use TV, consider cable. Your local cable station has more inventory available. Overall, many more options are available now compared to just a few years ago. Take advantage of these new choices.

  4. Stay Positive. Negative ads cause political fatigue. Keep your ads positive and they will stand out from the crowd.

  5. Lastly, consider the platforms the candidates are running on. Are people worried about the economy? Social issues? Global concerns? Is there a way your product/service can alleviate these concerns? For example, if people are worried about looming debt and this is a hot topic in the debates, can you advertise the lowest price or how customers can pay with cash? A bank could advertise lower interest rates on loans. A home builder could discuss how mortgage rates actually make now a good time to buy. Turn the political discussion into a chance to highlight your strengths.

In short, you can still advertise in a political climate and stand out from the crowd. You just need to plan sooner and smarter.