Political ads are seemingly everywhere as candidates try to reach voters. It is a way for them to get their message across completely uninterrupted by any other sources. It's the only type of media that they have control over. Jennifer Brubaker teaches a class on political communications at UNCW. She said candidates will spend some 3 billion dollars on electronic media in this election cycle, even as voters move away from traditional media. That is why more advertising is going online. Especially to capture the short attentions of young voters like her students. But Brubaker said the future is not in text messages and direct e-mail. It is the fact that voters sign up for those media means they "are preaching to the choir." Instead the focus is shifting to sponsored link ads, a cost-effective way to drive voters to candidate and issue websites. Brubaker said "Either Obama can purchase it so that if you're searching for information on McCain, well, here. Maybe I should look and see what Obama has to say as well. Or if you're looking for information on McCain, then maybe you need a little bit of a push." Of course, whether online or on TV, arguably the most effective ads are the negative ones, which Brubaker said are often more issue-oriented. "Even though we don't like them, we tend to learn a lot more. We also tend to remember, just as human nature, we remember negative things." Brubaker said. Like Lyndon Johnson's "daisy girl" ad. It ran only once in 1964, but is given a lot of credit for Johnsons defeat of Barry Goldwater. Brubaker said campaigns go negative because it works and some of the most negative ads today come from independent groups, which can push even harder than the candidates' messages. So hard that candidates like Bev Perdue and Pat McCrory have said publicly they wish groups supporting each of their campaigns for governor would stop attacking their opponent. Independent groups can take a lot more risks when it comes to the ads they run.
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