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article imageSmart political ads coming in 2014

By Karla Lant     Aug 25, 2014 in Technology
Political ads on TV are always annoying, but in 2014 they might verge on the eerie: Democrats and Republicans will both be using DirectTV and DISH smart ad technology during this election to decide what ads to show you.
Political parties have always crunched the numbers to find out how and where to run their ads, but this time it's getting a little personal. DirecTV and Dish now have ad targeting technology that allows both democratic and republican candidates to know not just what kind of voters watch certain shows, but which shows you watch.
The system uses your voting records to create a personalized ad program on your DVR; if you're a person who tends to vote for people in both parties, you're going to see different ads than someone who is a lifelong one-party voter. The DVR ads will even remind you to vote early if you typically use absentee ballots.
The big difference here is that the system is totally individualized with the voting records of real people like you and me. In the past political candidates used voting trends to place ads. For example, the Chris Christie campaign targeted Hispanic voters by placing ads during Spanish language telenovellas. Candidates have always used big data in their campaigns, and data management is always big business for political campaigns. But this new technique is so individualized that candidates will even know which viewers are undecided as they election day approaches.
Your saving grace may well be the candidates' pocketbooks, though. While the technology has the potential to run a personalized ad for every free space on your DVR that bothers you to get out to the polls, things may not get that intense. If you're a very firm voter who never deviates, candidates will be able to see that pattern too; it's possible that changing such an entrenched set of habits won't seem worth the money. Additionally, some research shows that exposing voters to more ads under these conditions just polarizes them more, and candidates don't want to do that.
More about smart political ads, smart ads, Ads, political advertising, 2014 elections
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