Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Political Advertising in Nigeria's 2015 Presidential Election

Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Political Advertising in Nigeria's 2015 Presidential Election

Article excerpt

Introduction

Alawode and Adesanya [1] described political advertising as a form of campaign used by political candidates to reach and influence voters. It is a subset of advertising described by Arens [2] as a structured and composed non-personal communication of information, usually paid for and usually persuasive in nature, about products, services and ideas by identified sponsors, through various mass media.

In the context of Kayode [3], political advertising requires that mass communication be focused, targeted and managed when reaching out to large audience groups. It can include several different mediums and span several months over the course of a political campaign. Unlike the campaigns of the past, advances in media technology have streamlined the process, giving candidates more options to reach even larger groups of constituents with very little physical effort.

Political advertising has become a relevant niche of advertising in the contemporary political terrain of Nigeria. This is not unconnected with its usefulness as a veritable means of making the electorates aware of candidates and manifestoes of political parties [4]. Political advertising has become an integral part of politics in Nigeria to the extent that electorates sometimes weigh the seriousness of candidates and political parties against the background of the level and pattern of advertising employed. Underscoring the relevance of political advertising in the current Nigerian political dispensation, Alawode and Adesanya [1] noted that political advertising is central to the realization of effective political socialization and mobilization.

This re-echoes an earlier assertion by a former President of the United States of America, Richard Nixon that "political advertising is to politics what bumper stickers are to philosophy." It is not gainsaying that this assertion is relevant to current political practices in Nigeria. In Nigeria, advertising and public relations are the two most relevant of the promotional mix elements in political advertising. This was echoed by Ansolabehere and Iyenga [5] who argued that political advertising has become a veritable tool for selling candidates of political parties during campaigns. Similarly, Kaid [6] stressed that advertising messages do influence public perception of candidates.

Nigeria runs a democratic system of electing public officers into elective posts. This gives many contestants ample avenue to make themselves available for public consideration. With over flfty political parties in Nigeria and the need to reach the people of diverse geographical and cultural peculiarities, many politicians and political parties are left with no other options than maximizing the strength of the mass media in reaching out to the people.

Consequently, persuasive messages are designed to highlight parties' manifestoes and showcase their candidates for the people to exercise their franchise in their favor. The tilt towards using the mass media for political communication might not be unconnected with the limitations of interpersonal communication in a diverse terrain like Nigeria. Thus, it is not gainsaying that in modern times, political advertising is one of the several ways politicians and political parties mobilize the electorates.

Political advertising can be done in several ways, such as television programme's, radio, newspapers and display of candidate's portraits, with several promising and persuasive inscription on the billboard, magazines and even the new media of communication. Part of the basic objectives of political advertising is to gain attention of the electorates and for this reason, political advertising sometimes involves orthodox strategies to achieve its aim. Edegoh, et al. [7] submitted that Nigeria witnessed an unprecedented increase in the number and style of political advertising in the national and state elections held in 2011. Several media of political advertising were employed during the electioneering campaigns. …

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