Archive for July, 2010

Blah, blah, blah

July 29, 2010

Brad Ellsworth up with his first ad.  Ok, here’s my issues:

1. The guy is a Congressman, and he talks about Washington like he’s never seen the Capitol.  He works there.  It just seems disingenuous.  

2. I like that he says “bull,” and it’s a nice segue to the fact he was a sheriff for 25 years (doesn’t say he is a Congressman), but if I have to hear the same tired lines about Washington, again and again this cycle it’s gonna make me vomit. 

Look cliche is fine, you have 30 seconds to get across a lot — heck that’s why they filmed in a broken down factory (interesting location by the way), and cliche is a great shortcut, but as Boris would say, “Guys check yourself.” When you find yourself slipping into cliche whether visually or in your script, you have to pause and ask yourself, is there another way to show or say this? Can I do something surprising or new here? Sometimes the answer is yes, that’s when something cool usually happens. 

Sometimes the answer is no. That’s when you get an ad like this one with the same old blah, blah, blah.

What is it about history?

July 29, 2010

Tim Pawlenty is out with a video for his Freedom First PAC, “History is on Our Side,” which is really a way of introducing him to Republican voters.

There are things that I like about this video, there’s a stylized use of color that’s interesting especially for politics.  I like the use of old photos, they add to a sense of Americana, there’s a nice overall iconic feel to the video.

My problem is Pawlenty, I guess I can’t tell if he’s being authentic or if he’s full of it.  I kind of like him, but something about his delivery, I don’t know I’m just not buying it.  Could it be the video is just trying a little too hard?

Get what you pay for

July 28, 2010

Bear with me, this is my first post on my iPad, and I can’t figure out how to paste the video into the post other than this:

[Editor’s note: What do you know it worked. Go iPad.]

DCCC announced it’s target states and this :30 ditty. I like the idea of the contract on America, and they deliver an incredible amount of information in thirty seconds. But I find the execution incredibly pedestriation and overdone. [Editor’s note 2: The site that pointed me to said said it was a thirty when in fact it is :50, still a lot of information, but not nearly as impressive as I thought.]

The music is way over the top, and for a spot without VoiceOver, music is especially important.

The spot was obviously done on the cheap no v/o, simple pictures and graphics, probably cost no more than $3-$4K.

Sometimes you get what you pay for I guess.

And we’re off

July 27, 2010

That was fast, they probably had these ads ready and waiting. Instead of responding to the Meek attacks with a defense (and really what would the defense be, I didn’t make that much money when I ruined the economy), Greene goes on the attack.

While neither ad really grabs me, I think they do enough to muddy the waters.  Meek comes off as a corrupt politician.  Now, I think if Meek’s original attack had landed, he wins this round. It’s a good lesson, just because you throw a punch doesn’t mean you’re going to hit someone.   The problem for Meeks is that Greene’s checkbook is unlimited, if he goes toe to toe with him, he’s going to lose.

The Greene ads are good enough, well produced, but not really standout.

Because this round is a draw, it’s really a win for Greene.

Betting on Suffering

July 27, 2010

You knew it was coming, when a guy makes his fortune because he invented trading derivatives, he’s gonna get attacked.  I think this ad suffers from the same issue as the Kirk ads, they’re throwing way too much stuff in there, and it is all coming too fast.

Compare this with the jobs ad against Foley.  This ad feels like an attack ad, and while it throws a lot of punches, I’m not sure they land because there’s no focus on anyone of them.

I do like the end line though. If they had built the case more carefully to lead up to that line, then this would be a much better ad.

Ad Infinitum: Hard to believe

July 26, 2010

I think these quick ad checks are going to become more common as there are more ads out there, and my time to post becomes less and less.

Great ad in my opinion.  Hard to believe it’s only 30 seconds, it tells such a powerful story.  Nice visuals, good juxtaposition of the CG’s on the screen adding depth and the voices of the people. It’s a small thing, but a big pet peeve, but I hate it when the words on the screen match the voice over.  Here they complement each other, and the one time they match (over Foley’s line) works well — the exception that proves the rule.

This ad reminds me of the famous Ted Kennedy ad attacking Milt Romney in 1994.  It always great when you can turn your opponents strength into a weakness.

Ad Infinitum: Too Honest?

July 23, 2010

This ad is very interesting, obviously has a tongue in cheek tone, but also very authentic.  Would it work in Politics?

Ad Infinitum: Or stuff I want to post, but don’t have the time to talk about

July 23, 2010

You may find it hard to believe, but I really think about what I want to write about each week. It takes time and energy, both to find an ad that interests me, but then to actually figure out why it interests me and put those thoughts down on paper.

In any given week, there might be 2, 3, 4, 5 other videos or ads I see that I think are worth showing, but I don’t have the time, energy, or clarity of thought to actually write something insightful about.  But, yesterday a friend suggested I start a micro-blog, call Ad Infinitum.  As he called it, “Immediate Ads Catching My Eye Right Now.” (For reference, this is the same friend who’s Daisy ad I dissed on in my previous post).

So as a new feature, welcome to Ad Infinitum.  With thanks to my friend, here’s an interesting piece he sent me:

As a Ward One resident, I like this guy, the video feels real and authentic, even if they lose the gimmick half way through.

Here’s the original:

The sincerest form of flattery

July 21, 2010

Spring is gone, but Daisies seem to be springing up everywhere.  First we have this offering from Bill Cooper:

Then we have this one against Aaron Schock

[Editor Note: This ad was actually done in 2008, and a very talented friend of mine made it. Didn’t know either of those things when I posted this. Adam]

It’s a good year to be a young blond girl actor.

It’s nice that both these ads try to play off the original “Daisy ad” — a classic of political advertising. That ad (which only ran once by the way) was both visceral and evocative.  These ads hope to tap into that fear and emotion to drive their message.

Do they work?  Not so much in my opinion.

The Cooper ad even tries to mimic the LBJ’s voice over, but as bad as you think the deficit is, isn’t not like nuclear war, and it doesn’t summon up the same fear or gut level emotion as the original.

The Callahan ad against Schock at least has to do with the threat of nuclear attack.  The issue here is that I don’t think voters really know what the ad means.  It seems so outside where we are these days to worry about nuclear weapons in Taiwan.  Maybe Callahan is ahead of the game, but the issue isn’t on my top 10.  I know it shows bad judgement, but it’s hard to get worked up over it.  If you only have so many chances to go negative, would you want to use one of those opportunities on nuclear weapons to Taiwan?

The problem with both these ads is that the daisy setup is a double edged sword: On one hand, you’re tapping into the myth of the original. On the other hand, you’re setting up an obvious comparison to the original.

I think both ads lose on that comparison. It sort of like they used the framework of the original, but missed the point of it.

And yes, if I’m going to talk about the “Daisy ad” I have to show it:

Trusting your concept

July 16, 2010

So I never talked about the demon sheep video that made waves at the begining of the year (though if I had, I would have talked about gimmicks and the need to be authentic).  This commercial is by the mastermind of Demon Sheep, Fred Davis.  It’s an attack on Senator Patty Murray, who in 1992 ran as a mom in tennis shoes.

I showed this ad to a couple of folks, and they thought it was awesome.  Funny thing was, I thought it was less than awesome, and the why goes back to the title of this post. I think this is an awesome concept and a great attack.  It turns Murray’s image around in an interesting way.

So what’s the problem? I think the execution is less interesting and effective than the concept.

This isn’t a concept problem, but a script problem.  The script is heavy handed, it sort of takes the wind out from the visuals. I think this ad would be more effective with a short script that packed more punch.  Imagine the same visuals, you see the white sneaks, then they’re stepping on the backs of the people.  All this time there’s no voice over.  I think that’s interesting and it gets you curious.  After 10 or 15 seconds hit your talking points, “Patty Murray told us she was different, but she did X, Y, Z, tell Patty to get off our backs…”  Less details, sure, less message, maybe, more effective without a doubt.

This is a good concept, but I wish it had a good script to drive the point home, as it is, I think it misses the mark.


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