Jigsaw LLC


Skippy or JIF, Skippy or JIF????

— Culture & Observations —

So the election is over and the nasty political ads have ceased. We were warned this was going to be a tough time to get our clients on the air due to the politicians and other political groups buying up the inventory. And it didn’t just seem like there were more negative political ads this year. There actually were. Political advertisements hit a record high in October, even more than in 2008, a presidential election year. Nielsen has estimated that 1.48 million political ads aired on television last month, and if you’re like me, you find them irritating, annoying and sometimes even laughable. For many it creates an instant disconnect with the candidate. There is a widely held public opinion that political advertising is more negative and unethical than ever. While I don’t know if this is true, I do know politicians have been attacking each other and slinging mud since the beginning. According ThisNation.com, a recent bi-partisan study done by the Project on Campaign Conduct found that 59% of people think politicians twist the truth, 39% of people think  politicians deliberately lie and 87% are concerned with the level of personal attacks in today’s campaign commercials. Eighty-seven percent!

Another survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports concluded that of those polled, 58% said they might even vote for the other candidate because of the negative ad.  If I were running for office, I certainly wouldn’t want my criticism of the opponent turning my voters away. According to ThisNation.com, there are many conflicting studies on the effect of negative political advertisements.  Some suggest that negative political ads turn voters away and that politicians who run more negative ads are more likely to lose. Some studies have suggested the opposite.

So let me ask you this, if negative political advertising works so well, why don’t we see more of it with competing products? Imagine a mother spreading Jif brand peanut butter on a slice of bread.  She draws a heart in it with the knife to signify her love for her child. Then out of nowhere, a magic wand appears and the bread is gone with a poof of smoke. The announcer says , “The CEO of Jif practices witchcraft. Spread the fun not witchcraft, eat Skippy.” Or Imagine a mother making lunch for her daughter. She grabs a jar of Skippy peanut butter from the counter. It has a skull and cross bones on it.  She suddenly drops it and on her face is a terrified, shocked look.  The announcer says, “Sure the CFO of Skippy saved one child from a burning building last year, but he is killing all of our children with dangerous levels of bpa in his newly manufactured jars. Choose the children. Choosy mom’s choose Jif.”  Ridiculous, right? This tells me nothing about the quality of peanuts used in each brand, the freshness or the creamy taste. We don’t see more of it because it is tacky, it makes us look unintelligent and we eventually become the characters in the movie Idiocracy, that’s why.

I don’t care if Candidate A smoked a joint or two in college! I want to know what he’s going to do about the unemployment crisis. And Candidate A, I don’t want to hear you twist the truths of Candidate B to make them seem like a liar, I want to know if you plan on raising my taxes.  There are bigger issues here.

Are these negative political ads causing confusion amongst voters? Could some voters be voting straight party just because they simply don’t know anymore what the candidates stand for?

More importantly, have I been eating Skippy all these years when I should be eating JIF???

Amanda Janssen-Egan
Posted by Amanda Janssen-Egan