Political Consultant Andy Meyer Speaks on Effective Political Ads

Andy Meyer, Hanover local and partner at A-L Media, joined the Dartmouth community on Monday, February 13, 2023 to discuss political ads and what makes some more effective than others.

Meyer directed the media program for Raphael Warnock's Senate campaigns and more than twenty others through the years. In addition to political campaign ad programs, he has advised labor unions, EMILY's List, and nonprofit organizations. Drawing from these professional insights, Meyer came prepared on Monday with anecdotes from the industry and heaps of advice for aspiring young professionals.

When asked whether or not he had always seen himself in political consulting, Meyer said he always felt he possessed a quality of competition that makes the work especially appealing to him. He continued by expressing his gratitude for the opportunity to work for candidates and causes he cares about deeply. Meyer particularly appreciated his proximity to elections during his time as an undergraduate at Colorado College when his exposure to the US Senate race during his senior year clarified his professional goals. Meyer also encouraged Dartmouth students to take advantage of New Hampshire's political privilege as the current first-in-the-nation primary and a very closely divided state that draws significant attention from candidates on both sides of the aisle.

Meyer thoughtfully provided three critical pieces of advice for undergraduate students, especially those considering careers in politics. First, he warned students not to concern themselves with working for the biggest or most prestigious campaigns (think presidential candidates). "You can grow and learn far more in small campaigns," where you are given greater responsibility, he explained. Second, Meyer– speaking as a current remote worker– advised young professionals to work with people face–to–face rather than remotely, because this allows you to learn more and gain more responsibility. Lastly, Meyer recommended that students stay in touch with any speakers, professors, peers, professionals, and campaign workers they meet during their time in college. As with most industries, politics is exceptionally relationship-based, and networking and "being top of mind to people while hiring" are crucial to entering the campaign and private consulting worlds. "Everyone in political consulting has been helped along the way," he added. Don't be afraid to ask for a meeting or coffee with professionals because "it's part of the job," he encouraged.

Touching upon his work on campaigns, Meyer discussed various facets of the political climate that affect how he runs media programs. Warnock's campaign stood out for two particular reasons, he explained. Greater national attention paid to the Georgia runoff led to the campaign possessing more resources and money than just about any other campaign, meaning they could run the campaign they wanted without as many constraints as other campaigns have to deal with. Additionally, while both Warnock campaigns were increasingly nationalized, the political climates between 2020 and 2022 varied dramatically. Meyer determined the cause of these differences to be the fight for partisan control of the Senate, which was a gamble

in 2020, while 2022's election came down to how the size of the majority the Democratic party would hold. Outside of the political climate at the time of the election, Meyer also changes media campaigns to meet voters where they are. Voters tend to do most of their political communication with neighbors, family members, and friends, he said, so it can be challenging to address factors outside of campaigns' controls, like the proliferation of misinformation, for example. Just like a game of telephone, "even if something isn't misreported, it becomes that way by the time it reaches the voter," Meyer mused. He and his colleagues advise their candidates to focus not just on television commercials but also to invest more in promoting positive news stories on social media and creating accessible resources for voters who prefer to do their own research.

Meyer concluded by expressing the need for campaigns to access more resources to communicate their messages, clarifying the need for a well-funded and well-read local press, since the absence of such can lead to lesser examinations into candidates and the issues that matter. Andy Meyer instilled in Monday's crowd the importance of flexibility when reaching voters as he revealed some strategies for conveying campaign messages. He also provided thoughtful advice for aspiring candidates and political consultants alike who were sitting in the crowd.