“I Have No Textbook”: Loss Aversion vs Prospect Theory

Democratic Political Ad

“I Have No Textbook”

Sick of political ads yet? Yeah, most of us are. They’re often negative and annoying. And perhaps that’s an understatement. But for me, there’s one ad that really stuck out this 2014 political season. You’ve probably seen it. It’s the “I Have No Textbook” ad. And this one really works. Here’s why.

Part of the “Tell Thom Tillis” ad series, this ad features Megan, a teacher from Cary, NC. This ad supports the re-election of US Senator Kay Hagan by pointing out how much ground we’ve lost regarding education. You may have even seen the rebuttal ad supporting her opponent, Thom Tillis. But what is it about Senator Hagan’s ad that makes it so effective? Loss aversion.

Loss aversion is the theory that contends people prefer to avoid losses more than making gains (prospect theory). The teacher explains the loss of textbooks and teachers’ aides, along with the increased class size she is expected to handle effectively under adverse circumstances. The ultimate victims of her situation are her students. Voters feel that loss. And there are very few of us across the State of North Carolina that are not, at some level, connected to a student. Megan describes the great loss. And we are moved.

The Tillis counters her concerns with the fact that teachers have received a pay raise. But the ad isn’t memorable or moving. Why?

Prospect theory doesn’t move the needle more than loss aversion. Speak to the losses and people will feel the pain and be motivated to change.

Clay Aiken and More With Four Team Appear Together in Cary, NC

Raleigh, NC – October 9, 2014. US House District 2 candidate, Clay Aiken, and the More With Four Wake County Commissioner candidates will hold a joint event on Sunday, October 12, 5:00 p.m. at Fortnight Brewing. The brewery is located at 1006 SW Maynard Rd, Cary NC 27511.

The event is part of a countywide tour designed for citizens to meet all four Wake County Commissioner candidates. Based on a desire to be in every town across the county, the four Commissioner candidates—Sig Hutchinson, Matt Calabria, Jessica Holmes, and John Burns—will listen to the needs of Wake County citizens and share their vision for the future of the county.


“Unlike many political rallies, I designed this event to be fun, casual, and family friendly,” stated Jeff Tippett event organizer and Founder of Targeted Persuasion. “With craft beer, food trucks, and a band I believe families will have an enjoyable time as they discuss matters of great importance to District 2 and Wake County. This is the perfect opportunity to talk face-to-face with the candidates.”








Raleigh Political Strategist and Business Leader Launches New Digital Company

New digital agency helps political campaigns, advocacy groups, and business find their targets online. And then persuade them.

Raleigh, NC – October 2, 2014. Jeff Tippett, a Raleigh political strategist and business leader, has launched a new company, Targeted Persuasion. The company helps political campaigns, advocacy groups, and businesses find their target markets online. But beyond just finding those markets, Targeted Persuasion creates assets designed to persuade.

Whether qualified by voting frequency, political affiliation, gender, ethnicity, geography, income, or a numerous other data points, voter files are cookie matched though a patented technology. Using big data, the company can identify what the target ‘looks like.’ Through a large online buying platform, ads are served directly to the identified market. These ads could be display, social, or video.

This same approach is taken for businesses that need to identify and persuade customers or clients. For example, identifying consumers with car leases ending can be a valuable asset to a new car sales or leasing team. With over 140,000 data points, most industries can find their target market.

Because of the targeted approach there is less waste in online media buys leading to a better return on investment. In addition, watching ad performance in near real time allows for constant optimization and increased performance. The integration of voter files, big data, and a large ad buying platforms along with experience with content that persuades, sets Targeted Persuasion apart from similar companies.

Quote from Jeff Tippett:

“Most political campaigns and businesses don’t realize that we can identify their persuadable universes online. We no longer target websites or keywords; we target the exact voters that can help the campaign win the election. But it’s more than just targeted. Our creative helps persuade. What good is identifying these targets if you don’t persuade them?”