The Federal Elections Commission (FEC) now requires a tag line on all radio political advertisements. The candidate, in his own voice, must identify himself and state that he endorses the communication. Many felt this change would effect the aggressive nature of political advertising. In fact, it has become an unexpected asset for candidates who can afford radio advertising.
Through my political advertising agency, which is dedicated solely to radio, I have seen the content and character of commercials change, but not necessarily in ways the FEC intended. The harsh, and sometimes cruel, attack ads of the past are still with us today. But more importantly, the tag line has given candidates a valuable way to convey personality and humanness in every message.
In order to win an election, a candidate must be "liked," on some level. More specifically, voters must feel a connection. A seven to twelve second voice tag at the end of the radio commercial can communicate professionalism, assertiveness, confidence, and even a smile. It can wed the message with the personality.
It is important to limit the candidate's own voice to just the tag line. There are many problems and risks involved with having a candidate record an entire commercial. An improper inflection, tone or word can offend the voters. Recording one spot, let alone several, is a very time consuming process. And, no matter how great a candidate's public speaking skills, the message is always best delivered by an experienced and meticulous voice professional.
Using the same tag line during the entire campaign builds familiarity. All messages start out on the kinder gentler side during a campaign cycle. Building this foundation allows for more direct and even negative commercials as the campaign builds to election day. The contrast created by an attacking message, followed by a familiar and positive tag line is invaluable. Employ a professional who understands politics, radio and the image the campaign want to present.