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The US economy is facing mixed fortunes leading into the mid-term elections. Inflation is at its highest level in 40 years, leading to rising costs for food, fuel, and other essentials. Gas prices are volatile, and uncertainty about their future persists. Despite these challenges, unemployment is at an all-time low, and the number of job openings is high.
Most economists polled by the Wall Street Journal predict that the US is heading towards a recession in the next year. The economy is always a key issue in any election, and this year is no exception. Inflation is one of the big economic measures that people feel personally, especially at the grocery store and the gas station. Republicans blame reckless spending, while Democrats point to supply chain issues and the need to bring more microchips to the US to stimulate the supply chain. Inflation is partly due to global supply chains, the pandemic, and energy prices.
Gas prices have also been a major source of frustration for voters. The Russian invasion of Ukraine initially caused gas prices to rise, but they have stayed high for a range of reasons. Republicans blame energy production, while Democrats blame big oil companies for price gouging. There is no easy answer to this issue, and analysts point to factors beyond the Biden administration's control, such as refinery maintenance and global supply chains.
The Consumer Sentiment Index shows that people are feeling more pessimistic about the economy than they did even during the Great Recession. Although there are fewer unemployment claims today than during the recession, people still feel worse about the economy because they are feeling the pinch of rising costs at the grocery store and the gas station.
Ultimately, voters will decide which party they believe has the best chance of fixing the economy. The blame game from both sides is not helping, and people want to see concrete solutions to these economic challenges.
A New Breed of Political Ad Enters the Midterms
The Changing Landscape of Political Advertising
Political advertising has undergone a major shift in recent years, with ads becoming longer, more personal, and more cinematic. These changes are being driven by the rise of online distribution, which allows for wider audiences and lower costs. However, the lack of regulations around internet ads raises questions about their effectiveness.
- Political ads are becoming longer and more cinematic, with a focus on personal stories and emotions.
- These changes are driven by the rise of online distribution, which is cheaper and reaches wider audiences.
- Lack of regulations around internet ads means they are subject to fewer restrictions, allowing for greater freedom in their content.
- The effectiveness of these ads is still up for debate, with some seeing them as a powerful tool for fundraising and reaching new audiences, while others question their impact on voter behavior.
The changing landscape of political advertising reflects a larger shift in how campaigns are being run and how voters are engaging with politics. While the rise of online distribution has opened up new possibilities for candidates, it also raises important questions about the role of money and influence in our political system. As we head into the next election cycle, it will be interesting to see how these trends continue to evolve and shape the way we think about politics and media.
How Brands Are Advertising During the Pandemic | WSJ
- The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted many industries, including marketing and advertising.
- Companies are adjusting their ad campaigns to reflect the new reality and to avoid tone-deaf messaging.
- Marketers are also exploring ways to be more entertaining and less somber in their ads.
Changes in Advertising:
- Companies have had to pivot their ad campaigns quickly due to the pandemic.
- Many outdated ads had to be pulled down, and marketers had to rethink their messaging.
- Marketers are now focusing on comforting messages and reflecting what their audiences are doing at home.
- Brands are also reintroducing humor into their ads to lighten the mood.
- The Mint Mobile ad had to be removed due to its tone-deaf messaging.
- Brands like WeatherTech are highlighting their germ-killing products to appeal to safety concerns.
- The long-term outlook for advertisers is uncertain.
- Brands that keep investing in their advertising during a crisis or recession tend to come out stronger.
- The ad industry may look different even after the pandemic is over.
- The pandemic has forced companies to rethink their advertising strategies and messaging.
- Brands that adapt quickly and stay relevant to their audiences will likely come out stronger in the long run.
How a Political Ad Evolves as It Moves Around America | WSJ
Political advertisements play a crucial role in shaping a candidate's image and swaying voters. In this article, we analyze how presidential campaigns tweak their ads to appeal to different demographics and localities. We use examples from Bernie Sanders' campaign and compare it to other top candidates.
The Art and Science of Political Ads:
- A good political ad should be local, reflect data, and have music that resonates with the local audience.
- A successful ad must have characters that project a certain tone.
- Data should drive the ad instead of producer or candidate preferences.
Tracking Political Ads:
- We tracked the top presidential candidates' ads using Kantar CMAG, Facebook, and Google's Transparency Reports.
- Michael Bloomberg spent the most money on advertising without having different versions of the same ad.
- Bernie Sanders and Senator Amy Klobuchar made the most changes in their ads.
Analyzing the Differences:
- Most changes in political ads reflect the locality of where the ad was aired.
- Sanders' Growing Up ad used different workers and issues to cater to different demographics.
- Biden's campaign catered to the local market in South Carolina.
Digital Political Ads:
- Facebook versions of the ads only had minor tweaks to fit the social platform.
- Sanders' Growing Up ad on YouTube had subtle differences to engage digital viewers.
- Experts are watching closely to see what new techniques might be used in the political digital advertising space.
Political ads play a vital role in shaping voters' perceptions of candidates. By tweaking their ads to cater to different demographics and localities, presidential campaigns aim to sway more voters to their side. As technology advances, we can expect new techniques and strategies to emerge in the political advertising space.
Super Bowl Commercials: Why This Year Could Be Known as the ‘Crypto Bowl’ | WSJ
The upcoming Superbowl 56 is going to be a historic event for the cryptocurrency sector, as crypto companies will be advertising on the world's largest stage for the first time. This article will explore which crypto companies will be advertising and what we can expect from their commercials.
This year's Superbowl has been dubbed the Crypto Bowl due to the number of crypto companies advertising. The three companies that will be running ads during the broadcast are Coinbase, FTX, and Crypto.com, all of which are exchanges.
FTX's Bitcoin Ad:
FTX is giving away the time for their ad, which will run in Bitcoin. This is a clever marketing tactic that is sure to catch the attention of crypto enthusiasts.
Secretive Crypto Companies:
The crypto companies have been secretive about their upcoming commercials, and it's not clear what they have planned. However, it's likely that they will rely on big celebrities to attract attention, as is often the case with new businesses.
Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange, is taking an unconventional approach to advertising during the Superbowl. Instead of buying ads during the game, they will run an ad campaign around the game. Their ads will encourage people to do their own research before investing in crypto, rather than relying on celebrities.
Even companies that are not directly related to cryptocurrencies are exploring blockchain technology. Budweiser, for example, will run an online NFT contest during the game.
The Crypto Bowl is a sign of the mainstream recognition and acceptance of the cryptocurrency sector. It will be interesting to see how these companies use their Superbowl ads to promote their brands and educate the public about crypto.
Google Offers to Change Ad Business to Fend Off Antitrust Suit | Tech News Briefing Podcast | WSJ
Google, owned by Alphabet, has been under legal and anti-trust investigations for its control over a significant portion of the online ad market. Google has offered concessions to avoid a possible U.S. anti-trust lawsuit.
Concessions Offered by Google:
According to sources, Google has offered to split its ad tech business that auctions and places ads and websites and apps into a separate company owned by the umbrella. This would not be an asset sale or divestiture, but rather a restructuring internally of how the business is operated.
Impact on Google's Revenue:
Google plays a central role in brokering ads across the internet, and any changes to how it operates or any concessions it might make to give other companies a bigger share would be significant. The restructuring may affect how Google makes money off of ads.
U.S. Regulator's Response:
Antitrust officials in the U.S. have a preference for deep structural changes, such as asset sales or divestitures, rather than promises to change business practices. This may make it a tougher sell to the DOJ as Google's concessions would not involve selling parts of its ad tech business.
Concerns about Google's role in advertising technology have raised concern in many jurisdictions around the world. The EU is investigating Google's advertising technology business, particularly the concern that Google might be preferring its own business.
Google's Past Transactions:
Google's ad business has become significant due to a series of transactions, such as the purchase of DoubleClick in 2007. This deal gave Google immense scale and control over the ad tech stack.
Impact on Competitors and Customers:
The question is whether Google's concessions are sufficient to address concerns of anti-trust enforcers and make a difference to the advertising ecosystem. It remains to be seen if the concessions will change things significantly for competitors or customers.
Google's concessions to avoid a possible U.S. anti-trust lawsuit involve restructuring its ad tech business internally. This move may impact how Google makes money off of ads. However, antitrust officials prefer deep structural changes, which may make it a tough sell to the DOJ. Additionally, the global pressure on Google's advertising technology business continues to grow. It remains to be seen if the concessions will make a significant impact on competitors and customers.
Why LGBTQ Ads Have Evolved | WSJ
Over the course of Pride Month, many mainstream companies are advertising to the LGBTQ community, which has a buying power close to a trillion dollars in the US. Brand loyalty is strong with this group, and companies that market to them are favored. LGBTQ-targeted ads have evolved over the last 50 years, from very few explicit depictions to now being more diverse and inclusive than ever. In the 1970s, marketers started placing ads in gay publications, but stopped short of placing ads in mainstream publications due to policies that prohibited ads containing the words gay or homosexual. Today, corporations have expanded beyond LGBTQ publications and are placing ads where everyone can see. Companies are feeling like in those mainstream publications, they're able to cast a wider net and reach a larger potential audience.
In the 1990s, as stigma associated with HIV and AIDS slowly decreased, companies started advertising to gay people on TV and in mainstream publications, but often did this through coded messages rather than explicit depictions of gay people. Coded messages allowed advertisers to communicate with gay people on mainstream platforms with less risk of backlash. In 1994, IKEA launched a commercial that featured two gay men shopping for a dining room table, which received mixed reactions. Some praised the company, while others demanded for the ad to be removed.
In the early 2000s, companies started explicitly targeting LGBTQ consumers, but still felt very gay white male focused until the first half of the 2010s, when portrayals of same-sex couples started showing up in catalogs and commercials. Since the passage of marriage equality in 2015, some of the world's biggest companies have produced LGBTQ ads that have popped up on advertising's biggest stages, featuring transgender athletes and more depictions of transgender and non-binary people as well as people of color.
While LGBTQ advertising has evolved over time, many are still critical of these ads and wonder where these companies were before trying to profit off of Pride Month. However, the financial incentive for companies to advertise to this group is undeniable, and as millennials and Gen Z become more vocal about injustices and demand more diverse and inclusive representation, companies will likely continue to expand their LGBTQ outreach.
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