AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerShould You Mix Advertising and Politics?

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Should You Mix Advertising and Politics?

With the country divided along political ideologies, it seems like a bad idea to mix your brand message with political leanings. Some are taking a not-so-subtle approach in advertising, but is it smart marketing? 1 in 4 people have boycotted a product because of political leanings.f000910c-f9b1-4610-9c3f-adad9a9e23fb

The issue is for brands is do you need declare or can you keep your head down? If consumers are “organizing their brands around their political identity, according to the research firm Ipsos, can you afford to stay on the sidelines?

It’s a slippery slope for most, yet for some of us, being pulled in may not be our decision. You need to have a plan if for some reason you are singled out or pulled into a political debate about your products or services. We call this a PR crisis and it is better to be prepared than winging it when it breaks. Yet some brands transcend the political correctness. Apple’s CEO has taken strong stands in speeches and in advertising, but you don’t see an organized product boycott.

For some the political divide is providing creative fodder for comedy. Smirnoff launched a campaign mocking the Russia investigations. Again, this may seem like poking a sleeping lion,  but in this hyper cluttered world, it may be the way to breakthrough. In spite of the material opportunity, you need to really know your audience and have a PR plan in place if it all goes wrong. 11111111


Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.