Archive for April, 2011

Dueling ads, West Virginia Style

April 12, 2011

Guess we got a race for Governor going on in West Virginia. We have a singing candidate, a candidate comparing his dog to being governor, and a guy who goes by “Big,” as in Big John Perdue.

When I write these dueling ad posts, I usually try to take them on one at a time and juxtapose the ads against each other. In this case, that approach didn’t feel right, these ads were crying to be lumped together. For whatever reason, I feel like all three of these ads are just trying way to hard.  It’s like they’re all crying out to be noticed. Look, I get it there’s tremendous pressure these days to stand out from the crowd, but standing out and standing out in the right way are two different things.

In my last post I reviewed an ad that stood out in the right way, in a way that drove a message, and was interesting to watch. Watching the Maloney spot, it starts with this line:

“Reliable… For 13 years…,” yes I’m with you, this is interesting…,”Holly’s trip with the morning newspaper has been as reliable as the morning dawn.” Stunned silence…,cue foghorn,  am I supposed to vote for the dog?  The flat delivery doesn’t help the flat gimmick gain any traction. I guess you may take away the guy is boring and reliable, but at least embrace the boring part, and the reliable part, well they deliver the message, but is it credible? After watching the spot, it’s more credible to say Holly is reliable than her master.

Rick Thompson appears to be singing in his spot. I like the story telling, but not sure the staged scenes are helping.  Again, they feel a little too desperate, like the story wasn’t enough so they had to tell you, instead of showing. The shots at the end transitioning from the actors of him and his grandfather to him and his son that works, but the other shots are a little too on the nose, a little too literal. It would have been better to use snippets of those shots, a closeup of the hand on an old phone, a kid stacking wood. The problem with the shots here is that they don’t convey experience (the emotional experience of what Rick was feeling or the mood they want), they’re like exposition — which always sucks.

Then there’s Big John Perdue.  It’s like if they say the word “Big” enough, we’ll like the spot (with the over done voice over). I assume he’s been called “Big John Perdue” before this spot? (Gosh I certainly hope so.) Again they are trying really hard, but it just doesn’t work. They should have gone all the way with the big John Perdue theme, imagine if they had done something similar to the Jake Zimmerman style here? Slightly tongue in cheek, yes (as it should if you’re gonna call your candidate Big John Perdue in an ad), but I think the hyper reality would have brought out the truth they were trying to convey. Instead, I feel the effort, but I have the same issues as with the other ads, is this credible? Who is this guy? Why should I care.

Sigh.  Who else is running for West Virginia Governor? Because after watching these ads, my vote goes to the dog.

 

The first videos of 2012 Presidential election

April 4, 2011

So we have the first announced candidate of 2012. Want to guess who?  No not him, not him, not her, not him… It’s the one and only President Barak Obama.

This video feels a little like the Time Magazine person of the Year, when the cover was a mirror, the person of the year is… YOU! Yeah, how’d that go over for Time? Ok, that’s a little rough. But this video is missing something (and I’m not talking about the President —  interesting, he doesn’t make an appearance in the video kicking off his campaign)…, not sure what it is. But it’s not exactly, what’s the word, compelling.  It’s too early for a sense of urgency, I get that, but this feels somewhat somnolent (SAT word of the day, had to look it up).  Maybe they don’t want to invoke the passion of 2008 because they’re scare it can’t measure up, maybe they think it’s too early, maybe there’s some reason I’m not clever enough to guess, but in any case, there’s nothing here that grabs me, I’d be interested to hear what true believers feel.

This video kinda leaves me missing the Tim Pawlenty Michael Bay themed videos which is something I never thought I’d say. Maybe we can split the difference going forward?

Here’s an Obama parody video

I liked the “Morning in America” feel to the open and how it seemed like an Obama ad at first, unfortunately, the rest of the video is less parody and more political rhetoric. There are probably a lot of things you can hit Obama for, playing golf, meeting with Paul McCartney and filling in an NCAA bracket seem petty and mean spirited, not funny. And I found it slightly disingenuous to use Tea Party protests as a sign that Obama is dividing us (as opposed to said Tea Partiers and radical governors taking away the rights of workers).  Now, maybe this video wasn’t intended for me (it certainly wasn’t), but I doubt it would work with someone in the middle, maybe an independent voter who voted for for Obama in 2008, but voter Republican in the last election.

Even the Unicorn (which I liked) at the end felt a little like sour grapes. Is there an argument to be made that Obama sold America a bill of goods and hasn’t delivered, without a doubt (I think even some Democrats feel that way). Did this ad make that case? Not even close, it could have used the parody to make an unexpected case, to engage independents and even Democrats before springing it’s trap. By going for the low hanging partisan fruit they missed the juicer bits.


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