Dueling ads in Arkansas

First the incumbent:

Then the primary challenger:

What’s interesting about these ads is how close they are in tone.  Both are quirky, off beat ways of giving voters some information about the candidates.  I don’t review a lot of cookie cutter ads on this blog, not because there aren’t a lot of them to review, but precisely because there are so many of them and frankly they bore me.

These ads don’t bore me, but I’m torn about them.  I put off writing about them because I’m not sure exactly how I feel about them.  These ads are not cookie cutter, they are different.  I appreciate that, but I can’t help feel that they’re lacking something, but I’m not sure what it is….

Maybe it’s this: I don’t connect with either Bill Halter or Senator Lincoln.  The ads leave me cold. The tone is funny, but I’m not sure if it’s appropriate, they dont’ feel authentic.  What I mean in this case is neither ad feels true to Halter or Lincoln, somehow I don’t get them in the ads.

It’s like the candidates are props in their own ads, you could switch the candidates, and the ads would be pretty much the same.  I feel like both ads are out of sync with themselves, discussing serious/tough issues in a light way, they just aren’t able to pull it together in the end.

Overall, I don’t love either of these ads, though I feel like I should.  I do however appreciate the effort to try and be different because here’s the thing, if you take a chance sometimes you’re going to miss.  (These ads don’t miss that badly, but I think they do miss the mark). That’s one primary reason folks don’t want to take a chance because people piss all over them if they miss the mark.  It’s hard to criticize if you go by the book, if you make a boring ad that looks the same as everything else, but is good enough — no one is going to attack you for that, even if it isn’t effective.

Still, these ads aren’t bad, and I think trying for something and failing gets you at least as far as not trying at all.

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