Direct Response Copywriter on Political Advertising

Here in Charlotte, where I’m a Charlotte copywriter…

Sorry…I had my SEO copywriter boots on…let me start again. Apologies…

Here in Charlotte, where I’m a Charlotte direct response copywriter, we just hosted the Democratic National Convention. Quite a circus. A huge event for Charlotte. Those guys were on spring break.

The center of Charlotte, the intersection of Trade and Tryon, was a zoo. We had three days of near chaos and more police than I've ever seen in one place.

For the record, I vote. I’m not registered with any political party but I vote. And it's private.

So please understand: this blog is not a political broadcast. I’m not taking sides.

The election is almost seven weeks away as I write and I have some advice for politicians based on speeches I’ve heard recently and, especially, on the mail I receive from candidates.

Use direct marketing techniques and hire a direct response copywriter.

Political advertising is extremely poor. Why? I’m not really sure. My guess: the world of politics is full of consultants and ‘experts’ who don’t know much and certainly have never picked up a book about direct marketing.

It’s extremely rare in direct response to see advertising that shamelessly bashes the competition. But in political advertising, it’s the norm: hammer the other candidate even if you lie.

In direct response, we shamelessly promote the benefits of a product. Yes—there might be the occasional harmless comparison chart but that’s pretty much it when it comes to being nasty about the competition. Data shows that saying rude things about the competition doesn’t sell stuff.

A politician is a product and the goal is to persuade the voter to buy the product. The voter, like a good consumer, is asking, “what’s in it for me?”

So, dear politicians, ANSWER THE QUESTION.

I’m dying for a political speech that gives me:

  • A reason to get excited.
  • The big idea.
  • Something even vaguely approaching a USP.
  • Concrete benefits.
  • An irresistible offer.

My mailbox will soon be overflowing with vague and vacuous postcards and letters from candiates. Many politicians don’t even list their party affiliation. And the promises are clichés.

"I'm here for you."

"You can be confident I will represent YOUR interests."

"I will FIGHT to lower your taxes."

The problem is obvious. Politicians (and their expensive consultants) use branding advertising instead of direct response advertising. It’s all about image.

Yet every politician strives to look exactly the same. Dark suit. White shirt. Bright tie. And for the women: bright suit. Wide smile. Country club hair. So the image advertising isn't about differentiation or standing out. It's about looking the same as everyone else. Bizarre.

If I were a politician, I would use every direct response tactic in the book. If you’re a politician and you’re guaranteed to win due to the demographics of your district, well done.

But if you’re a politician and you’re in a tight race, ask your marketing people how much they know about direct marketing or direct response copywriting or Dan Kennedy or Scientific Advertising.

If your ‘team of experts’ stares back blankly when you ask them about Dan Kennedy, find a team that can execute direct marketing techniques. You’ll win. Going away.


I'm a direct response copywriter. I specialize in providing content and copy for the direct marketing environment for clients around the planet. I specialize in sales page copy, landing page copy and copy that just plain persuades readers to pull out their credit card and buy. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.