How Did Frank Underwood Compare to Bush and Rubio?

Can Netflix make a better political ad than career politicians? That’s the question the team at market research firm Spot Trender recently tackled as part of their ongoing efforts to deliver practical insights to help ensure advertisers don’t waste valuable time and money. In their recent polling, the company tested Hollywood political heavyweight Frank Underwood, against real-world players Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
Below are the ads which were shown to the test participants:

Now, let’s look at the data behind the spots:

Comparison Reaction Graph

Comparison Reaction Graph

In the chart above, the orange lines represent Marco Rubio, the green represents Frank Underwood, and the blue lines represent the Jeb Bush ads. This chart really just shows that across the board, participants in the testing overwhelmingly preferred every second of the Frank Underwood ad.

According to the HOC reaction graph below, unity, peace, and doing what is best for the general population are three themes which few participants disliked. Of course there was surge of joy when people learned this actually was a teaser for the latest season of House of Cards on Netflix.


Frank Underwood Reaction Graph

Frank Underwood Reaction Graph

Turns out that Netfix did such a good job that after watching the ad participants found that Frank Underwood:

  • Will keep America safe (55%)
  • Could deal with Russia and China (43%)
  • Is presidential (65%)
  • Is innovative (58%)

Of course, all the above are fairly generic statements and didn’t really address any of the issues at hand. Simply showing cliché American imagery isn’t enough to sway voters. A concept best summed up with the following statements from three of the participants:

  • Generic using stock images. Possibly fake or not a real ad. Understood it was a political ad. Unclear who or for what political agenda this was for.
  • Typical patriotic pictures. Rather old hat. I suppose this familiar actor should suggest something but I don’t watch the show he is in so I don’t get it.
  • Does not relate to current conditions and concerns

Bush vs Rubio

Now let’s take a quick look at how Bush stacked up to Rubio. Quick note: The C next to the percentages indicates Rubio performed statistically significantly better than Bush in the polling.

Bush vs Rubio

So where did the Bush campaign go wrong?

Jeb Bush Reaction Graph

Jeb Bush Reaction Graph

Most of the participants didn’t like how the Jeb Bush ad was calling out the competition. One person described it as “Basic Grade school name calling,” while another wrote, “It was straight to the point about a subject that is important to me.”

Marco Rubio Reaction Graph

Rubio Reaction Graph

The Rubio campaign did a much better job of relating to the average person. Rather than focusing on bashing opponents, Rubio took an approach similar to Underwood; talking about the issues at large and the crises at hand.
The general sentiment is best summed up by the participant who wrote, “sincere, hope, full, optimistic. A man who appears to love this country and who doesn’t seem to be filled with anger. I feel like he could really pull this country together.”

If you liked this article, check out Intuit battling Starbucks with Superbowl ads!