The Weekly Forecast: October 6

By October 6, 2020 No Comments

Welcome to ACRONYM’s Weekly Forecast, where we share our latest findings on which digital ads and narrative message tracks work to inform and persuade audiences.

Dorothy is our machine-learning powered system that estimates the persuasive potential of an ad on Facebook without the need to run expensive experiments for every creative. For a detailed explanation, check out our first newsletter here.

Since you last heard from us, Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, the New York Times revealed that Trump pays next to nothing in income taxes, Trump absolutely bombed at the first presidential debate, and in one of the most shocking yet unsurprising developments yet, Trump was hospitalized with COVID-19.

These are all incredible developments on their own, let alone all crammed into one week. Considering all that’s happened, though, PACRONYM has decided to continue running ads holding the president accountable for his derelictions of duty, especially regarding his wide-ranging failures to fight the outbreak not just nationwide, but in his own inner circle and our White House. The team also moved quickly last weekend to layer some news about the president’s diagnosis into our persuasion program to get a quick read from voters – these results are below.

And now, our Weekly Forecast:

Here are 5 ads that work…

…and 2 ads that don’t.

For our Top 5 this week, we have promising results regarding Trump’s personal handling of the coronavirus. In particular, we found that if it’s discussed through the angle of his recklessness and incompetence, voters’ opinion can be moved away from him quite effectively. With Fox News’ coverage leading as this week’s top story, and similarly with Cindy McCain’s endorsement of Biden, we find again that conservative outlets & messengers hold sway with audiences that may not trust more liberal sources.

We also received mixed results with regards to Trump’s last remaining leg of his re-election pitch: the economy. For starters, we’re unsurprised to find that voters gravitate towards messaging about bringing jobs back to the US, “Buy American,” etc., and we can see that the Biden campaign has honed in on the “Scranton vs. Park Avenue” slogan because it works.

However, while folks on Twitter tend to salivate over revelations that the Trump campaign uses misleading imagery in their campaign materials, we found that voters feel quite differently about it. It’s possible that reports of the Trump campaign using a now-closed factory to falsely display economic prosperity create backlash because voters see it as the media playing “gotcha,” and focuses on the inside baseball of politics that most voters disapprove of.

Finally, we found that reports of Biden’s economic agenda being the best path forward for our economy can also create backlash if we’re not careful. Here, it’s possible that because the analytics firm mentioned in the article has Wall Street ties, voters may be more likely to believe that Biden’s plan secretly benefits the wealthy, or that Biden will fail to hold Wall Street accountable if elected.


Those are Dorothy’s hot takes for the week – thanks for reading our Weekly Forecast! If you found these insights to be at all helpful or interesting, please feel free to share this email with your colleagues and let them know they can sign up here.

See you next week!

James Barnes

Author James Barnes

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