A CMO Show Blog Post
Why political content and powerful storytelling go hand in hand
A CMO Show Blog Post
Why political content and powerful...

Here in Australia, we’ve come to expect our political content to fall into one of two categories: it will either be a schmoozing, slogan-packed policy ad, or a fear inducing, vitriolic attack on the opposition. So, what can content marketers stand to learn from the political content game abroad? Rian Newman explores…

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed last week when I saw a video announcing, “This Hillary Clinton Ad may Bring you to Tears.”

I’m always sceptical of emotional manipulation, especially when it comes to political content campaigns, so when this particular ad appeared I felt it had probably met its match.

Ninety seconds later, with my stoicism in tatters, I began to wonder what it was about this video that had affected me so much.

The clip, featuring 91-year-old World War II veteran and POW, Joel Sollender, is a deeply engaging and affective piece of communication from the Clinton campaign, and the quite possibly one of the most emotionally rousing pieces of political content I’ve seen.

A recent study from the Australian National University found the majority of political content is ineffective and that negative content in particular only serves to “make people angry with the political process.”

The clever thing about this Hillary Clinton video is that it anticipates our anger and uses emotive, subjective and honest storytelling as a means to channel it towards her opponent, Donald Trump.

Make no mistake, this is still an offensive piece of content, but it’s an attack in disguise.

Distributed via social media (there’s a shorter, 30-second version that has since aired on TV) the video becomes something that we choose to watch, rather than an imposition on our time. We’re automatically implicated in the message because it’s one we’ve elected to hear.

And with over 270,000 views on YouTube, 11,000 likes and 6,500 retweets across Twitter – all within two weeks of publication – we’re certainly watching.

Want more? Try this: Proof that a campaign CAN enact social change

According to a marketing industry publication, “one key component to successful emotional advertising is to find and capitalise on the core value of the brand.”

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have both come under scrutiny for their personal integrity throughout this election, but there’s only one candidate whose irreverence for war veterans has been witnessed time and time again.

Joel Sollender’s beautifully articulated thoughts, along with his poise in the face of Trump’s comments, tugs at the heartstrings. They lend an emotional gravitas to the video that we’re more accustomed to seeing in shock media campaigns for tragic road fatalities or cancer patients.

There’s a 2015 documentary about the Indonesian genocide called The Look of Silence. The eponymous “look” has multiple meanings throughout the film, but is most literally expressed in the face of its protagonist, Adi Rukun, who travels around Indonesia confronting the men complicit in the atrocities of 1965.

In vivid detail, the war criminals proudly recount their experiences of the genocide, and the look on Adi’s face becomes increasingly despondent throughout the film. Numb from the callousness and the magnitude of their actions, astonished that it could have ever come to this.

I can see that same look on the face of Joel Sollender as he watches the footage of Donald Trump. I imagine the viewers of this Hillary Clinton campaign video can too.

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