Archive for September, 2009

War on Ads

Posted: September 24, 2009 in Uncategorized

Question 1 from Maine is asking its citizens to vote for or against same-sex marriage. Supporters of Question 1 created a television ad asking people to think about the children and the possibilities of being sued for not treating homosexual couples equally. They use the intimidation factor to convince viewers that they will have to pay for all the lawsuits that will occur and lack of control over what their children are going to learn at school.

Opponents of Question 1 attacked the ad by creating one defending the moral values of Maine. Their main focus is to keep children safe in schools and not let “outsiders” harm kids by promoting false information about what it is taught in classrooms. Sherri Gould, 2005 National Teacher of the Year, appears talking about how important it is to teach respect in schools. This ad also uses intimidation, but it mainly says that people in Maine are good people; therefore they should support marriage equality.

Supporters counter-attacked with another television ad criticizing the second ¬†commercial. They use a teacher watching a Massachusetts couple talking about how their grade 2 son learned that “boys can marry other boys.” Once again, they tried to intimidate the audience by making them feel powerless about their kids’ education.

Objectors released an ad pointing out that the teacher from the supporters’ second ad is Charla Bansley. They expose that she is not a teacher at a public school, and has been a long-time activist against same-sex marriage. This ad is the most original of the “series” because it is the only one that doesn’t try to intimidate the audience. It makes people think “why ¬†[supporters of Question 1] must go to such a great lengths.”

I bet that this ads are going to keep going and going. The problem that both sides are making is that they are only targeting parents. They are excluding the rest of people who are allowed to vote and don’t have kids at school. They are forgetting that kids are not the ones who are going to get marries- at least not yet. Another way to look at the issue from Question 1 opponents’ point of view, is that anybody can be a LGBT+ person. They should mention that by denying the equality of marriage to same-sex couples, they could be denying the possibility to marry to a friend or family member. But doing that might scare some people who are not as open-minded about the issue.

Question 1 supporters make a big mistake in their first ad when they mention that allowing same-sex couples to marry will start a series of lawsuits against churches and other entities. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the ad, was “why would anyone sue someone unless is harming them”? In that ad, they recognize that they are harming same-sex people at not recognizing their rights. The counter-attack mentions it, but it focuses on too much on children being harmed.

As you could probably notice, I belong to the 8% of people who agree with same-sex marriage, so my opinion is completely biased. But I tried to see the ads from an objective perspective. I would like to hear the opinions of people who have no stand in this subject to say what their vote would be after seeing the four commercials. I really wonder about how effective they are.


My name is Cristian Cano and I am a fourth year Marketing student at Camosun College in Victoria, BC. I know that marketing is more than just creating ads, but I find the advertising part very fascinating. Sometimes we, as customers, depend on mere advertisement when we make our purchasing decisions or when we take a stand on something. Professionals say that for every topic or product there is an 8% of the population that agree with it and another 8% that disagree with it. The rest of people (84%, hence the name of this blog) are the people that marketers and advertisers are trying to convince to either agree or disagree. I plan to analyze different campaigns and see how effective they are at convincing.