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Why this advertising exec would never do campaign ads

U.S. President Barack Obama holds up his plan for jobs during a campaign rally in Delray, Florida October 23, 2012.


"Hectoring, polemic dreck."

That's how one advertising exec describes election ads – and why her agency won't touch them.

RP3 is based in Washington D.C., but writing in trade publication Ad Age this week, its chief marketing officer Claudia Caplan explains why she is proud they don't do election spots.

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Her thought-provoking article gives a few reasons for this. First, election cycles are finite, and don't leave time to build meaningful messages – and are ultimately focused on an ego-driven star. She compares an ad for a well-polished candidate to a billboard screaming, "Barbara Streisand is Yentl!"

It's an argument that's sure to get people talking at ad agencies. Not going political is no small decision – a political client can bring in millions of dollars for an agency in not much time. But it also disrupts the rest of the business and other clients' work.

Ms. Caplan also writes that unlike almost anything else an agency is asked to sell, politics speaks to people's deep beliefs and ideologies. Don't use the shampoo your shilling? No big deal. Forced to write ads for a prospective president whose policies offend you to the very core? Now that's a recipe for a toxic workplace.

Other reasons Ms. Caplan gives are the relentless negativity of those ads, which she believes are not creative, and how bad so much of the work is. Iconic ads like "Morning in America" are few and far between.

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