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Political advertising: why is it so boring?

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Most analysis of political advertising questions how it matches up to the normative standard of providing information to voters. It tends to treat advertising as a core, and often debased, resource for deliberation. However, advertising as a form is less suited to complex information and more to engagement of interest. Despite this, political advertising normally is both constructed and analysed as information carriers. While commercial advertising attracts interest through pleasure and popular discourse, political advertising remains wedded to information. The persuasive strategies of political and commercial advertising are marked as much by dissimilarity as by similarity, the former aiming at plausibility and the latter at pleasure. The article analyses party election broadcasts in the UK over two general elections, according to a scheme that elicits both the informational content and its aesthetic and emotional appeals. Both the analysis design and the underlying rationale may have application beyond the UK. They help answer the quuestion: why does political advertising seem so dull and so bad to so many people?

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