To Juxtapose…

Today’s commercial was made by a friend of mine who I have both praised and savaged on this blog.

I really like this ad, sure it’s a gimmick, but it’s a gimmick that works. The guy is running for county assessor, it’s hard to think of a more boring, less dramatic elected office.

In college, my favorite word was “juxtapose” (we should all have a favorite word). I made a conscious effort to put it into every paper I wrote — it was in part because it was my favorite word, in part it was my rather vague and subtle attempt to be subversive.  Anyway, I enjoy the juxtaposition of the western themed elements (music, color, sound f/x) and the rather hum-drum nature of the candidate and the office.

This ads makes drive by assessments dramatic for F-sake.

The funny thing is, for all the drama, music, and stylized shots, this spot works — Jake Zimmerman feels real to me. I have no idea what he’s like in person, but he appears to be a no-nonsense, straight forward guy, it seems authentic.  You could have created a standard spot, imagine the same spot without the music and f/x, it would be fine, but it wouldn’t be memorable. I remember this spot, I remember the message, Jake is fair, no drive by assessments.

(To be honest, my friend showed me a cut where the drive by assessments line was executed in a more standard way, and it flopped, it wasn’t bad per se, it just didn’t really resonate the way it does in this version).

To give this spot even more credit, I’m not sure why my friend thought this combination would work, it shouldn’t, I wouldn’t have believed it would work until I saw it.  I’m not a big fan of gimmicks, usually they’re just, well a gimmick, something to get attention (the spitting on the table), but they don’t usually drive message.  The gimmick here does, and frankly, I’m not sure why, except to come back to my favorite word: Juxtaposition.

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