Marketing winners of the 2016 presidential election

Congrats Donald, you beat the odds and proved your own party wrong. The road to the White House for the two presidential candidate nominees was close and fierce. Attack ads and finger pointing took center stage. Thank goodness it is over.

This year the candidates spent millions purchasing ad space to feed their message to the people. Their campaigns offer opportunities for marketing communication professionals such as designers, media buyers, strategists, copywriters, videographers, animators, etc., to create new and innovative content. While we could go without some of the negative ads, there were many creative pieces that should be recognized. Here are my picks for the outstanding election marketing pieces from brands, advocacy groups, and even one of the candidates.


The Pedigree Experiment

Pet food company Pedigree created a heartwarming segment showing that love for dogs can cross political divides. The video’s premise is a woman trying to help find the lost owner of a golden retriever during the candidates’ rallies. The twist is that she shows up to each rally wearing the opponents t-shirt. While causing some confusion amongst the supporters, the helpless dog is enough distraction for them to agree on one thing, “We have our differences, but everyone loves dogs.”

Props to Pedigree for connecting dog food with the most important decision of our country. The ad was a great at showing what the Pedigree brand stands for, the love and respect of animals. Something we all can stand behind together.

Weather Channel’s 9-hour ‘Escape the Election’

 I know this year’s presidential race caused a lot of anxiety and stress, so I hope everyone took advantage of the Weather Channel’s election escape programming. They hosted a 9-hour marathon of “the most beautiful, awe-inspiring, and calming weather video and scenery ever caught on tape” to help calm election nerves.


The Weather Channel’s move to offer a place of tranquility was genius, as most people wanted to run from this election before the party nominees were even announced. The best part of this marathon was the Weather Channel’s press release for it. Check out the press release here.

Hefty trashes political ads

This campaign was perhaps the cleverest out of all election ads. The Hefty trash bag brand spoke for most U.S. citizens by trashing the detested political ads. The brand purchased pre-roll ad space on YouTube and ad placement on media websites like CNN, Fox News, AOL and The Huffington Post. They were simple and stated, “This political ad has been trashed thanks to Hefty.” Bravo, Hefty. Bravo. I only wonder how much they paid for these primetime spots.

Hefty 2016 election ad from Ad Age Communication Minded


 NextGen Climate with celeb endorser Aziz Ansari

This year NextGen Climate took a page from Rock the Vote’s book and hired celebrities to help endorse their cause. NextGen Climate is a group that targets millennials and “acts politically to prevent climate disaster and promote prosperity.” One of their ads featured comedian Aziz Ansari. In the video Ansari is comically outraged at the fact young people need him, of all celebrities, to tell them to vote. He ends his rant with a “go vote” plea before stomping off camera.

This ad is a fun spin on celeb endorsement, as his complaining – or disbelief – about having to spend his lunch break encouraging those undecided youngsters to vote is quite different from any other celeb endorsement.

Rock the Vote exclusive polling music

To avoid the lines I voted early; however, after hearing this news I wish I had waited to get these exclusive tracks. Rock the Vote partnered with musical artists Watsky and Adam Vida, Local Natives, and the Head and the Heart to release new tunes for those who waited in line on Tuesday. The catch was you could only stream the music if you were at a registered polling location.

The Candidates 

“Mirrors” from the Hillary Clinton Campaign

Ad Age created a list of the top shared presidential campaign ads and this ad was number one with 555,918 shares. The “Mirrors” ad highlights Trump’s negative comments about women’s looks while showing young girls, who presumably don’t fit that mold, looking at their reflections in mirrors. It is an ad that tugs on your heart as a woman, a parent, or anyone who has respect for females. It is easily the most memorable ad from her campaign and one that likely influenced a lot of voters to consider casting their ballot for her.

There were tons of marketing campaigns and ads produced during the 2016 election process. Did you have any favorites that didn’t make my list? Share them with me in a comment below.

-Caroline Robinson

Bonus Content: If you follow me on Snapchat, you will know I’m obsessed with their filters. Here is a collection of my favorite election filters.

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