Dueling ads, West Virginia Style

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.

 

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