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Cookie-Cutter Campaigns

A “cookie-cutter campaigns” are political campaigns run by political consultants who use virtually identical strategies in different jurisdictions.

The typical sign of such campaigns are websites or direct mail advertisements that use identical layouts and stock photographs.

The increased number of cookie-cutter campaigns in recent years is due, in large part, to the rise of political consulting on the local level.

But they’re also due to pols and consultants having found campaign tactics that work again and again.

As Walter Shapiro writes:

There is another intriguing reason why campaign tactics in both parties are about as creative and innovative as those employed by the French general staff during World War II.

No major candidate is willing to risk his or her political future on untried campaign plans built around embracing new media and playing down TV spots. With a Senate seat or a governorship at stake, the political herd instinct is as powerful as it is debilitating.

So every campaign resembles every other campaign with cookie-cutter ads since the creative potential of 30-second spots was exhausted decades ago.

These campaigns often recycle the same themes, slogans, and advertising methods regardless of the context or the electorate they are targeting.

While cookie-cutter campaigns can be cost-effective and easy to implement, they often lack originality and the ability to resonate with diverse audiences on a deeper level.

The term is often used pejoratively to critique campaigns that fail to innovatively address the specific concerns and preferences of different demographic groups.

Use of “Cookie-Cutter Campaigns” in a sentence:

  • The shift from traditional advertising to digital platforms has enabled politicians to move away from cookie-cutter campaigns, which often lacked originality and personalization.
  • Cookie-cutter campaigns, characterized by their standardized messages and strategies, are criticized for not effectively addressing the nuanced and varied needs of a diverse electorate.
  • As voters crave more authentic and relevant content, there is a growing demand for political campaigns to abandon the one-size-fits-all nature of cookie-cutter campaigns in favor of more tailored approaches.