Home Smart political marketing: Dueling Senate ads invoke Redskins, Hokies

Smart political marketing: Dueling Senate ads invoke Redskins, Hokies


Viewers during the broadcast of the Washington-Dallas Monday Night Football game were treated to a TV spot from the Ed Gillespie campaign informing them that he is the Senate candidate who will make sure that the Redskins don’t have to change their name.

“I’ll oppose the anti-Redskins bill,” Gillespie says in the spot. “Let’s focus on creating jobs, raising take-home pay and making our nation safer, and let the Redskins handle what to call their team.”

The implication being that Warner is a fervent opponent of the team name, when the first half of the Gillespie spot excoriates the Democrat for not taking a position on the Senate resolution calling for a name change.

Semantics aside, it’s smart political marketing from Gillespie, to highlight a hot-button issue specific to Washington football fans on what promises to be a high-viewer broadcast. (You don’t get much sexier in TV sports viewing in the Mid-Atlantic than Washington-Dallas on Monday Night Football.)

If you do outpace Washington-Dallas on MNF, it would be Virginia Tech football on a Thursday night, when the Mark Warner campaign was the star of the night, with a spot featuring Bruce Smith, one of the Holy Trinity of Hokie Football (with Frank Beamer and Bud Foster), not only endorsing Warner, but also reminding voters that it was Warner who made sure that Virginia Tech is in the ACC.

That the spot aired during the broadcast of a blowout Tech loss on national TV is immaterial, in part because the Warner people had the sense to make sure that it aired early in the game when we were all paying attention.

The Gillespie people get credit for doing the same. As of the writing of this column, Washington has an early 3-0 lead on the rival Cowboys, but it’s safe to assume that the lead will be short-lived.

– Column by Chris Graham



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