5 Ways to Create Political Ads That Cut Through the Noise

5 Ways to Create Political Ads That Cut Through the Noise

Among other tactics, licensing news footage and user-generated content can take your political ad campaign to the next level.


  • Political campaigns should be flexible and change timing and tone based on what’s working and who you’re trying to reach
  • Authenticity is key in political campaigns
  • Licensed footage can help you speak to voters in a hyper-targeted way 


With state, local and national elections around the corner, there’s more political messaging out there than ever before. 

Between TV, radio, social media and podcasts, voters are bombarded with political ads of all varieties. How can agencies and organizations cut through the competition?

Here are a few ideas for creating ads that win votes.

Go big

When it comes to TV advertising, more is better. According to a study by American Politics Research, a 1,000-ad advantage in a particular market over the course of an election gave the candidate a 0.5% bump in vote share.

“You want your message to be seen more often than competitors’,” according to Michael Franz, PhD, a political science professor at Bowdoin College, who designed the study. “It becomes an arms race, and it can have a significant effect on the final results.”

Time it just right

Timing can have a big impact on who you reach. According to Tobe Berkovitz, a political media consultant and professor at Boston University, more educated and interested voters watch early-morning and late-night news broadcasts, while morning talk radio shows reach a conservative but politically involved audience. Time your ads accordingly.

Go positive when you’re up, negative when you’re down

The truth about negative ads is that they work. Political researchers and campaign consultants say negative ads are more memorable than positive ones, as long as they reinforce a voter’s previously held belief and are relevant to the central issues of the campaign. That’s why you still see them time and time again in political advertising.

However, you may not want to go negative all the time, especially when you’re already in the lead. A study of Senate campaign ads by Washington State University political science professor Travis Ridout, PhD, showed most campaigns use positive advertising to stay ahead while reserving negative advertising for catching up in the polls 

“If you’re behind, you need to shake things up, and that means making people anxious about the other candidate so they will reconsider their voting decision,” he says. “If you’re ahead and want to cement peoples’ support, appeal to the emotions of pride and enthusiasm.”

Avoid the staged, generic vibe

We’ve all seen cringe-worthy political ads that use actors with perfect teeth waving flags and smiling. While well-shot stock footage of locations can save campaigns time and money, it’s best to use footage shot in real life rather than a soundstage. 

“Real people, real voters, unscripted, is often more powerful than what lots of people can devise around a conference-room table,” according to media consultant Julian Mulvey.

Embrace authenticity

This brings us to our last point: Go authentic. To capture the real issues and real voters, you need footage shot by news organizations and people on the street.

Licensed news footage lets you do just that. With video footage featuring the issues of the day, you can craft relevant ads that are hyper-targeted for your campaign, whether you’re working for a candidate in a local race or a national organization seeking to advance issues at the ballot box. 

A licensing solution such as Veritone Licensing can help you source content that’s relevant to your specific campaign. Veritone Licensing offers current and archival footage from some of the world’s leading news sources, with AI-enhanced indexing and search that lets you find the exact footage you need.

To go beyond the headlines, Veritone Licensing also includes user-generated content featuring everyday people and the issues of the day, from people marching in the streets to clapping from their balconies for first responders.

To take advantage of our white-glove service and find the footage you need for your political campaigns, contact us here or call us at (866) 815-6599.