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Worst election ad I ever did see

I’m writing this to you on the great American holiday:

Election Day!


And, personally, I’m really super duper excited to vote, and if you don’t vote you may as well just unsubscribe right now because you’re supporting the evil other team by not voting!!!

(Just joshing, I don’t vote, nor do I think you should.)

But I am excited:

I’ll finally stop getting stupid election ads on YouTube.

Many people say they don’t like “negative ads.” But I think they’re lying. (Lesson: Always trust what people do instead of what they say.)

I’ve seen a few negative ads that have been aces:

Republicans copying Trumpisms. Democrats copying Republican talking points. It’s amazing (and methinks we’re in for a red wave).

Now, I’ve seen a bunch of mediocre ones too.

And, I’ve seen one election ad in particular that’s so bad it makes me gag every time it interrupts whatever I’m watching on YouTube.

Let’s talk about that one, shall we?

Now, this ad doesn’t sway “left” or “right.” (I’m assuming it’s from the “left” because they’re the side who faps over every young person voting, for obvious reasons. But I’m unsure.)

In fact, the ad isn’t even about a politician. Instead, it’s for some vague judge. And when I say vague judge, I mean I don’t even know which judge in my area paid for the advertising.

Here’s how the ad starts:

“Have you ever not voted for a judge on Election Day?”

(My response: Why, yes, I have both voted and not voted for judges on Election Day. But I never knew their issues or values. In fact, I usually just voted for the one with the most name recognition. Alas, I decided years ago that I would never vote again…)

It continues:

“This year, don’t.”

(My response: Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, *holds back vomit*, okay? I’m not gonna listen, but I can’t lie, your top tier persuasive with this one! /s)

It goes on:

“Imagine how much a judge can impact your life.”

(My response: Excuse me, ma’am, but I’m not a felon, nor do I play one on TV.)

Then, the ad continues, but the agonizing 5 seconds are up, so I can skip it and continue watching whatever YouTube video I’m watching.

Let’s break this ad down now:

“Have you ever not voted for a judge on Election Day?”

(My analysis: It’s much better to say what someone is doing instead of what they’re NOT doing. A much better way to say this would be: “Have you ever skipped voting for a judge on Election Day?”)

“This year, don’t.”

(My analysis: Don’t attack me. I’m gonna do whatever tf I please. This part attacks the listener and tries to guilt-trip them into voting. I’m not a fan of guilt-trips in marketing, but at least companies like Wake Up Warrior have emotion behind their guilt-trips. Can't say the same here.)

(My analysis part 2: Your subconscious doesn’t recognize “not” language. So your subconscious reads this as, “This year, do.” h/t to Joshua Lisec for this tip.

And a bonus tip unrelated to copy: Always tell yourself—or your customers—to remember something, like using a promo code, instead of not forgetting it. It’s more powerful than you think.)

Moving on…

“Imagine how much a judge can impact your life.”

(My analysis: Stop telling me what to do! I don’t want to think any more than I have to—and I’m someone who gets paid for the thoughts rolling around in my brain. You think an average Joe working a slightly-above minimum wage job will give this any serious thought?

This also violates my “Show, Not Tell” rule. As a copywriter, the burden is on you to create pictures in your audience’s mind. You can’t tell them to do that. Not only will they not do it, but it’s much less impactful than creating that picture for them.

For example:

Let’s say I’m working for a Republican-leaning judge. I could say something like:

“My opponent lets drug dealers off with the minimum sentence, so they’re back flooding the streets with drugs—drugs that may be laced with fentanyl, and drugs that someone you love may take.”

Or, if I’m working for a Democrat-leaning judge, I could say:

“My opponent lets convicted gun owners off the hook because of the outdated 2A. If you want your streets flooded with Kyle Rittenhouse vigilantes, vote for him. But if you want safety for your children? Vote for me.”

See how these two examples I came up with in 60 seconds create more of a vivid image in your mind than the lame “Imagine how much a judge can impact your life.” line?)


Copy is a powerful weapon — if’n you know how to wield it.

Need help wielding the power of good copy in your emails?

It could be the difference between $80k months and $350k months. (Real results I’ve generated for my clients.)

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