Infomercial Advertising and Politics
Infomercial advertisements have been used by politicians for years. In fact, this strategy by American politicians has been used by not only presidential candidates but also by candidates running for state office and other offices. The goal is to have airtime where a candidate can detail his merits, his plans, as well as his goals for office. A notable candidate was Ross Perot who ran for president in the 1990s. He frequently bought paid programming time so that he could advertise his stance for president.
Other candidates have followed in his footsteps including Barack Obama. Other political views can be presented through infomercial programming, too. For example, the National Rifle Association has purchased programming time to air programming to promote their views on gun control and similar issues all the while trying to convince the public to become part of the organization.
Before Super Tuesday in the 2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton purchased an hour of primetime programming on the Hallmark Channel. She also purchased programming on the FSN Southwest Network in Texas. Barack Obama took advantage of infomercial programming, too, to really portray a presidential candidate interested in change so he could win the election. He even went so far as to purchase programming during primetime on seven of the top networks including Fox, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, BET, TV One, and even on Univision with subtitles in Spanish. He went to this extreme to provide the nation with a “closing argument” to his campaign. His approach may have been new to the way most presidential candidates handle their campaigns, but since the paid programming brought in more than 33 million voters and Obama eventually won the presidency perhaps the future will have more candidates using infomercials to promote themselves for various offices.
Few people would have imagined that infomercial programming would have gained so much popularity and would eventually be used as tools to promote presidential campaigns. However, they have really caught on and not only are they a great medium for selling products and services, they are also a great way to promote ideas, candidates, and pretty much anything else that can be advertised.