George Parker is the perpetrator of adscam.typepad.com. Every week he shares his opinions on the advertising world with PSFK.

Anyone smart enough to have bought a copy of my last book, The Ubiquitous Persuaders, will know that I devote a whole chapter to the subject of political advertising. It’s not as if this is a new subject, most of the graffiti adorning the walls of ancient Rome was political, while the rest was porn. Which, when you think about it is pretty much the same thing.

In The Hidden Persuaders, (my book is a fifty year update of this 1956 classic) Vance Packard devotes a whole chapter to the way that politics in the fifties was being increasingly influenced by advertising. As he points out, manipulation of the electorate is nothing new, from the “Bread and Circuses” approach of those seeking office in ancient Rome, to Napoleon’s creation of a press office which he called “The Bureau of Public Opinion,” douchenozzle politicians have never been shy about molding favorable opinions of themselves and their policies through mass communication. But the money spent in those days was peanuts compared to the dumpster loads now expended on increasingly vicious, if not banal, non-stop ads for candidates seeking every conceivable office, from Senator to dog catcher. Years ago, when I first came to America, (before most of you were born!) The election season would be measured in months, whereas now it is virtually non-stop. Politicians never cease running for office, and because of the uniquely American notion that before you start running for the actual position, you have to start running for the nomination, you need money, lots and lots of money.

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