The Positive Side of Negative Political Advertising - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  898 Words
Date:  2022-12-08


Negative political advertisements tend to make a difference in cases when the margins are quite small. Therefore, it is imperative in such situations to make campaign adverts that draw the attention of the electorates to ensure that they make an informed choice during voting. Political adverts, albeit negative, have the propensity of making people seek for more information on a particular issue, especially the ones that touch on contentious issues such as violence and drugs. The fact that advertisements make people seek for further information is beneficial since they get to learn more about the issues in question. It is important to note that adverts that make people laugh and the ones that entertain them inspire little desire for additional learning or gleaning of information. Essentially, the adverts act a source of information or a means to get people to search for particular information touching on crucial matters of interest, and may be the difference in a political battle. Focusing the message on the issue rather than the person tends to draw the electorates towards matter while ignoring the candidate. The secret is to have a focused message that will resonate with the audience, meaning that they will be persuaded. Additionally, political campaigners need assess the value of communication present in their advert to give them room for adaptation when on the campaign trail.

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Political advertisements tend to be effective, particularly in the developed democracies such as the United States and the United Kingdom, when the message contained therein is political rather than personal. For example, philosophers and other observers agree that Margaret Thatcher's victory in 1979 was because she rejected the negative ideas and philosophies that the Labour Party stood for and defended. The secret is to attack the idea and not the candidate and then the message will resonate well with a formidable fraction of the electorates. For example, most adverts ignore the young people since they do have little or no interest in politics. It is important for an advert to target such young individuals since they will not remain young forever. While most people perceive negative political messages as detrimental, they are quite useful, especially when the margin between the candidates slim.


Despite the listed benefits that negative political advertisements portend, they have grave consequences. They cause personal problem (fear, grief, and guilt) and social grievances (rejection, shame, and embarrassment) to certain quotas. The advertisers rely on the premise that fear, shame, and shame increase the persuasion power of the adverts thereby making them effective. Essentially, negative advertisement relies on vices to convince the audience, which is immoral and unethical, to say the least. Wiping people's emotions in the bid to convince them serves to lower their reasoning and to impair their rationality to the point that they fail to choose what is right or good for humanity. It means that such kinds of advertisements bear grave misinformation and misdirection. The application of the use of negative emotions such as shame and guilt normally lowers a person's self-esteem to make them act in a maladaptive manner. Such an act is wrong, unethical, and immoral, meaning that it should not have any place in the society.

Personal Thoughts

The threat appeals usually contained in the negative political advertisements have the ability to influence the behaviors and the attitudes of the audience or people who come across such. It means that they lead to increase of fear among the electorates in the bid to persuade them. The effects of such adverts are quite magnifies among the adolescents who will then depend on fear, mostly misinformation, to choose candidates for various electoral positions. In retrospect, the utilization of guilt and shame appeals tends to inhibit the processing of the message, which means that it will not have the intended persuasive effects. The threat appeal is often exceedingly selective to the audience it appeals to, meaning that it may not achieve the designated purposes. For instance, when a political campaign is negative, it might drive away potential voters instead of attracting them towards the candidate. It is worth noting that the persuasive nature of the threat appeal varies deeply with the demographics.

Reason for my Thoughts

My thoughts on negative political advertisement stem from the idea that such a method works selectively or under certain circumstances. The fact that it is only effective in conditions where there are high fears arousal makes it inefficient and ineffective in convincing certain sections of the population. Additionally, wiping emotions could be the reason why people elect the wrong leaders in the first place. Negative advertisement arouses emotions, meaning that it does not give the electorates the opportunity to act or think rationally. Emotions tend to cloud people's judgments. Therefore, negative political advertisement is less useful in the decision-making process. Finally, such kind of advert does not change the opinion of the actual candidate, which means that it does not improve the support required to win elections.


Creegan C. Negativity and Australian political discourse: a case study of the Australian Liberal Party's 2013 Election television advertising (Doctoral dissertation, Yuksek Lisans Tezi, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Media and Communications, London).

Dykhne I. Persuasive or Deceptive-Native Advertising in Political Campaigns. S. Cal. L. Rev.. 2017; 91:339.

Weidmann NB, Benitez-Baleato S, Hunziker P, Glatz E, Dimitropoulos X. Digital discrimination: Political bias in Internet service provision across ethnic groups. Science. 2016 Sep 9; 353(6304):1151-5.

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