Political Advertising remains the primary source which allows candidates to identify and to reach potential voters. Political campaigns first and foremost hope to convince potential voters to support their candidate at the polls. With online advertisements and television advertisements, candidates are able to reach potential voters. However, in a highly competitive campaign the candidates will need to engage in a costly media campaign. The utilization of strategic advertising in presidential campaigns has been around since the 1960’s. Whether the advertisement has a positive or negative tone, it can create changes in voter perceptions and election outcomes. For that reason, experts have investigated advertising strategies in order to drive more people to the polls and uncover patterns in voter behavior. Political advertisement by Hillary Clinton from the 2016 U.S presidential election is a content analyzed in this paper.
By evaluating the tone, topic, and message strategy by Hillary Clinton’s-sponsored advertisement titled “Mirrors” during the 2016 presidential election.The political advertisement, entitled “Mirrors” features a diverse group of middle-school-aged girls and was presented in late September, 2016. The contestants of the United States Presidential Election of 2016 were Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. Moreover, millions of Americans feel left behind as the middle-class shrinks and voters consistently rank the economy and terrorism as one of their top concern. Pew Research has estimated that the economy and terrorism were the top two issues in 2016. Overall, 84% of registered voters said that the economy will be very important to them in making their decision about who to vote for in the 2016 presidential election; slightly fewer (80%) said that the issue with terrorism will be very important with their vote (Fingerhut, 2018). Furthermore, Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election of 2016 was shocking to some groups, especially women. According to Pew Research, women supported Clinton over Trump by 54% to 42%, more men supported Trump than Clinton and older voters (ages 65 and older) preferred Trump over Clinton 53%-45% (Tyson and Maniam, 2016). However, white woman did not. The majority of female votes for trump were either married women and/or were over 45 years old. Many white married women voted against Hillary Clinton because they were influenced by the politics of their husbands.
In the political advertisement titled “Mirrors” democrat Hillary Clinton sponsored the ad against republican Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. The ad opens with images of Hillary Clinton embracing a young supporter. We then see images of a diverse group of middle-aged girls looking at themselves in mirrors and cameras; seconds later, we can hear real sound-bytes of President Donald Trump making mean comments about women. The advertisement focuses on young girls examining their reflection and fixing their hair in bathrooms, car mirrors, and trying to find a good selfie angle while Trump starts saying things like “she’s a slob”, “fat ugly face”, “she ate like a pig” and a person who is flat chested is very hard to be a 10”. The judgemental words playing in the background, are real comments Donald Trump makes bout actresses such as, Rosie O’Donnell, Nicollette Sheridan, Kim Kardashian, etc. The advertisement ends with a question in a black slate saying “is this the president we want for our daughters?”.
The advertisement ends with a question made by Hillary Clinton asking if Donald Trump is the right candidate for our daughters. As we all know, every decision we make comes with repercussions. With that being said, the ad is trying to tell us to be cautious about the decisions we make, especially during the elections. Clinton explains, “Our children and grandchildren will look back at this time, at the choices we are about to make, the goals we will strive for, the principles we will live by, and we need to make sure that they can be proud of us (Hensch, 2016).
As mentioned above, political advertising is a form of campaigning used by political candidates to influence registered voters. However, do you think a candidate would spend millions for an advertisement without the reassurance that registered voters will actually listen to them and vote? Candidates often go with negative campaign ads, showing negative images, comments, or the bad things that will happen if we vote for their rivals. A new study found that negative advertising in politics works, but it’s more effective if the advertising comes directly from a candidate or candidate’s campaign (Informs, N.D). Hillary Clinton’s “Mirrors” was aimed at women, but mostly, parents. The advertisement focuses on young girls getting ready to go to school. At the end, Hillary Clinton leaves a question for the “parents” of those young girls, asking “is this the president we want for our daughters?”.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign ad starts out by showing a group of young girls looking at themselves in mirror. Suddenly, Donald Trump’s voice comes out of nowhere insulting women. “Mirrors” represents Donald Trump as an inappropriate candidate. The ad claims “is this the president we want for our daughters” the underlying assumption is that our daughters are at risk, and parents are responsible for protecting them. Evidence of Trump as an unreasonable candidate comes from the sound-bytes of him acting irrationally on television. For example, Trump calls a woman a “slob”, his ableist message is not a kind word for our daughters nor is it a positive message to the public. Trump symbolizes sexism, profanity, and ableism. In one scene, a girl pulls her shirt down as Trump says “she ate like a pig”. The young girl faces are blank and almost zombie-like as they listen to the sound-bytes of Donald Trump. There is a theme of manipulation used in this advertisement, Hillary Clinton tries to manipulate women by Donald Trump’s disgusting comments. Moreover, these young girls self-esteem is brought down by the comments that are playing in the background. All girls in the ad are alone, signifying a situation when they are being bullied without anyone to help them.
This political advertisement motivates parents to vote through fear, as someone who was once an adolescent girl, trying to imagine looking at yourself in the mirror at that age and hearing the horrible things Trump has said about women’s appearances would be difficult. Fear that our children are watching and listening to the comments Trump makes. Fear that a young boy, will one day turn on the television and hear Donald Trump’s opinion about women and think that judging a female’s appearance is fine. The Advertisement utilizes young girls as a symbol of purity and innocence. It also uses young girls as a symbol considering that Hillary Clinton became the first female presidential candidate and a track record of breaking glass ceilings, she hopes that the advertisement motivates and empower women to stand up and speak out.
In this advertisement, Hillary Clinton presents herself as a woman who fights for women’s rights. Clinton painted herself very much as the “anti-trump” on this advertisement. It was a feminist, anti-trump campaign video where Hillary Clinton attempted to represent herself as the breaker of glass ceiling. While using the harsh words of her own rival as the background of this heart-touching video. In addition, if an individual were to watch this advertisement without the sound-bytes of Donald trump insulting women, it doesn’t sound or look bad at all. All Hillary Clinton had to do is add his own terrible words, and there are a whole bunch of them. Lastly, the ad juxtaposes Trump and Clinton by characterizing Clinton as the right president.
Political analyst, David Gregory says, these have been very effective ads up until now because it’s really about disqualifying Trump, someone who is risky, and who is really unacceptable as a person. She is obviously reaching out to a constituency that she struggles with, that is men. Think of this in terms of our daughters. What does it mean to have a women president? What does it mean to have someone who normalizes this kind of talk, and puts it in the public square in a way that becomes acceptable because it happens over and over again’so I think this is a very specific type of appeal to people’s decency to say we cannot have this guy (Merica, 2016). My personal opinion of the ad was very skillful. I was shocked at the fact that it really makes you think about the future of our daughters. Throughout many decades, women have struggled to protect their rights. Women have come a long way and they are certainly fighting to gain equality both at home and work place. This ad speaks to Donald Trump’s misogyny. After watching this ad, I cannot see how any women, red or blue, could vote for Trump and feel okay about it.
In conclusion, most campaign ads are unimaginative and formulaic. However, “Mirrors” by Hillary Clinton is an ad that people will look back on. The ad was overwhelmingly positive, it pointed out the negativity in Trump’s comments, where Donald Trump’s own words are used against him. It was a warning especially to female voters. The ad depicts Donald Trump as an irrational and inappropriate candidate, it can be argued that Clinton’s advertising strategy attempted to motivate voters.