2016 Election Results: an Ad Major's Perspective

2016 Election Results Explained from an Advertising Majors Perspective



Whether you are happy or disappointed in the results from this election, there a lot of evident yet overlooked reasons that lead Donald Trump to victory. Media has become an ever popular force in the world we live in, and impacts people’s lives daily, thus why advertising plays a major role in political campaign since Eisenhower’s “Ike For President” ad in 1952.


In the past, winners for the presidential election have been chosen based on ad dollars spent. Usually, the more ad dollars spent yields the most effective campaign, and thus a projected winner is chosen based on this correlation. For instance, in 2008, President Obama spent over 175 million dollars more than republican nominee John McCain did. So, following the same correlation patterns, democrat nominee Hlilary Clinton looked as if she would be taking the cake this year as she spent over 137 million more dollars on advertising than republican nominee Donald Trump. However, despite Clinton being forecasted to win this presidential election, results are in and she is not the 45th president of the United States.


Something that a lot of people are missing or not taking into account, was right in front of their face the past year and a half: social media, which as I may remind you, is free. Trump was a firecracker on social media with all kinds of outrageous tweets.



Many of which gained him unearned media. On top of that, all the things he said in debates such as calling Clinton a “nasty woman” and saying he was going to rid the U.S. of “bad hombres” generated lots of attention. Within hours people made memes and even sold shirts that said “such a nasty woman”. While it seemed funny, people couldn’t help posting about it whether they were for or against Trump. But all of these jokes, tweeting of his words, making memes and shirts was just more unearned media attention for him. Trump spent a lot less than Clinton did in traditional media, but that does not mean that U.S citizens were not hearing about him, they were through every other medium, and even traditional media, because he would land himself on your local news every night with whatever charade he was playing that day.


Finally, although many argue that Trump did not make any valid points about how he was going to “Make America Great Again”, it didn’t matter because that was all he had to say to get a rise out of people. Although the percentage of white voter turnout has been on the decline since Reagan, Trump was able to appeal to this niche of people, get them off the couch and out to the polls to cast their votes for him and his running mate Mike Pence. While in contrast, Clinton did not hit the minority groups as hard as she should have. She did well in getting a larger percentage of African American votes than Trump, but they did not show up for her the way they showed up for President Obama in the past. This is because despite Clinton seeming to have more legitimate plans for America, there was no better way to the attention of American’s than getting a rise out of them. By telling them American’s they are getting “ripped off” by the rest of the world and that a vote for Trump was a vote for “making America great again” this was enough to give Trump the edge. This is especially true as he won two-to-one in votes from people without a college degree, because as Trump exclaimed, those are the people who are especially being ripped off and coincidentally that niche accounts for a large number of eligible voters.


Although Trump’s comments raised lots of eyebrows, especially his comments about women, Mexicans, disabled people and many more, he got enough of a rise out of the American population to get them to vote for him. It seemed like bad publicity, and it seemed as though there was no way U.S. citizens would elect someone for president who has allegedly sexually assaulted women but we did America, Donald Trump is the new President of the United States. So I guess that old saying is true right? No publicity is bad publicity…. seemed to work out quite nicely for Donald.

Socialite, blogger, perfectionist; suffering from fomo and currently attending the University of Texas at Austin. Advertising major and member of Zeta Tau Alpha fraternity.

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