Political Advertising Agency vs. Traditional Advertising Agency

by Joe Fuld (He/Him)

political ads vs traditional advertising

What Is the Difference between a Political Advertising Agency and a Traditional Advertising Agency?

As a political advertising agency, we work with campaigns and groups all over the country and it never fails that in many conversations, the candidate’s spouse uncle, cousin, works or has worked in advertising.  We sometimes compete with traditional advertising firms and I have had folks ask me the question what is the difference between a political advertising agency vs a traditional ad agency? The answer is a there are lots of differences. 

Let  me show you how these agencies are different, and what you should think about when you are choosing  a traditional Advertising agency or a Political Advertising agency for your campaign.

Timeline: In the world of politics and advocacy, time matters. Creative is important, but if it took an extra month to get the creative beyond perfect you would miss your election day. With a traditional advertising firm, you have lots of time to turnaround creative.

Expertise: We work on lots of types of campaigns and have decades of experience, and understand what it takes to build political power in smart and fast ways. A traditional ad agency has similar expertise in their niche, whether it is financial services, pharmaceuticals or food companies or something else. They know what they are doing.

Process: A traditional agency has a very segmented process for creating an ad. Ad planning, strategy, creative and buying are all separate departments in a traditional advertising firm.  A political advertising agency has a much more fluid process. Ad planning, strategy, creative and buying are all done with a small group of people who work across departments. This difference can be good or bad depending on which type of firm you are in. A big traditional ad agency has a lot of time and resources to put into each area. A political ad firm is lean and fast they are set up to create and move ads quickly.

Budget: Political and advocacy campaigns don't have a guaranteed budget. These are not corporations that have a guaranteed yearly spend.  When you hire most political ad agency's you don't guarantee what you would spend on media.

Connection: When it comes to political campaigns and advocacy, we know my business really well. I know funders, managers, organizers, coalition partners. In the traditional market for advertising, I don't know a lot of people who could help if you are advertising your restaurant. But, if you are running a political or advocacy campaign, I can help.

So what does this mean? A Political advertising agency and a traditional advertising agency both have very specialized and very different from each other. Bottom line: if you are selling burgers don't call me, but of you want to pass some legislation or get elected give me a call.

To learn more about what a political advertising agency does, check out our Are You Ready To Run? ebook here.