Archive for June, 2011

Is it 2012 already?

June 30, 2011

I reviewed the Crossroads GPS ad earlier this week, as you may remember they’re up with a $20 million buy.  Despite spending $20 million to run the ad, I found their ad cold, trying to make a rational case rather than wrapping an emotional case around some facts.

I came across this online video made by the Romney folks that takes on the jobs/economy theme much more effectively than crossroads.

Similar to the Crossroads ad, this one uses the President’s words and turns them against him. But where the Crossroads’ quotes felt out of context these feel devastatingly on point. While the CG’s with the numbers feel a little complicated, and I found hard to read, I did like the driving drum music, and the final shot of the empty factory was pretty powerful. Glad this ad is on the internet only and doesn’t have $20 million behind it.

Priorities USA responded to the Crossroads ad with this ad:

This spot is better than the Crossroads’ ad, while it didn’t break any new ground, and the portraits were neither particularly interesting (except for the kid at the end with the flag sitting on the soccer ball — I think it’s the ball that makes it feel authentic) nor innovative, they were trying to make the ad emotional. Gosh I do hate the ad in the TV effect showing your opponent’s attack ad, it so clunky, can’t we come up with something new? I did like the end line, “We can’t rebuild America if we tear down the middle class.”

Did I love this ad, no. It felt hackneyed and I would have rather seen more unoriginal portraits over the “ads blaming President Obama” section along with Rove headline rather than the ugly TV, it seemed to break the flow of the faces for me, and made the ad more political, and less about these people. At least they tried to hit the right emotional tone and tie it to the message, something the Crossroad ad failed to do.

These three ads/videos represent the opening salvo of the 2012 General election. Republicans want to make the election about Obama versus some hypothetical candidate, if they succeed then they win. Democrats want the election to be about Obama versus Romney or Pawlenty or Bachman or whomever, he wins that battle because they can’t compare (and their positions are ultimately unpopular). Of the three, the Romney video did the best job on striking that resonate chord. I still question if folks blame Obama for the economy or lack of jobs, they may be angry about it, but not sure they hold him accountable, voters have already made a decision about Obama, and worked the economy into that calculus.

If Republicans have any chance, they’re going to need more videos like Romney’s.

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Bang for your buck

June 28, 2011

Crossroads GPS is up with a new ad attacking Obama on the economy.  $20 million dollars a year and a half before the elections is a lot of money to spend.  So I figured their ad would be worth a look:

Wow. $20 million dollars and you get an ad that starts “These are the facts…” that was the line of the first ad I had to write all by myself (actually it went “The facts” just to be historically accurate) and that was 11 years ago.

I find this ad less than compelling.  In some ways it misses what’s a trademark of of most conservative advertising — emotion. There’s no vitriol here, no anger, well, no nothing… Even the facts are kinda boring, and while they try to contrast “the facts” with Obama’s statements, not sure the juxtaposition works.

Now I have a friend, who’s opinion I respect, who thinks it doesn’t matter how good or bad the ad is. His reasoning is $20m is a lot of money focusing people on Obama and the dismal economy, and I think he has a point…, but still come on, was this really the best they could do?

I guess if you hate Obama already this’ll get you more angry, but if you’re on the fence, is this going to do anything? I don’t think so…. People already know they economy stinks, and they’ve put it into their Obama calculation.  Is this ad about the debt ceiling vote? I’m not sure, but this ad just feels kinda mushy to me, it may be on-message, but it’s not on-emotion. It doesn’t really make me angry, it doesn’t push any emotional hot buttons or at least doesn’t push them in an effective way (I suppose the Obama “shovel ready” line is supposed to make him seem out of touch, but it feels oddly out of context the way it’s presented here).

$20 million is a lot to spend, but to me this is just another example of spending a lot of money to air something, when they should spend more than $12k to produce the ad.

A couple of quickies

June 22, 2011

Content is slow these days, so maybe I shouldn’t be breaking these reviews out, but I didn’t have much to say about either of them, but I did want to say something about them.

First from Nevada:

I find this ad incomprehensible. I get the connection they’re trying to make, but it’s either too subtle to too obtusely executed, that I’m confused. Then to top it off the candidate makes an appearance at the end, spouting political speak about raising “Obama’s debt limit” and ending the nightmare. This concept was much better executed (on a bigger budget) in the “Chinese Professor spot,” which I reviewed last year. That spot makes the threat seem real, this spot makes it seem, I don’t know…, but there’s no urgency, so it makes the candidate appear like a wingnut saying he’s going to end a nightmare that seems comical rather than imminent.

A friend sent me this video from Jon Huntsman the great sane hope or something like that. It was weird watching it, boring in parts, sublime in other sections, subtle in concept, but strangely heavy handed in execution — I love the section that starts “dropped out of high school to travel with his band Wizard…” as Boris would say, “Guys, this is movie.”

But for the most part, it felt both like it was trying too hard to make their points. Take the Wizard section. They could have given the viewed the information, “dropped out of high school…blah, blah, blah” and left the viewer to fill in the conclusion this guy is not your ordinary politician, instead they feel compelled to tell you that in the narration, in case you missed it. It’s like they don’t trust this unique concept which is something like a visual haiku nor do they trust the viewer.

And the whole America from 10,000 miles thing, I just didn’t get it? What does it mean?  I did also like the backhanded  shots they took a their opponents.  Still, I found this video perplexing but a good lesson. And maybe thats’s the lesson of the first video as well. You have to trust your concept, I know I make this point often, but it’s clear in these videos they didn’t. They liked the concepts, but didn’t completely trust them to get the job done, so they embellished the message just so everyone got it, but in doing so they undermine the strength of the concept, it becomes neither fish nor fowl as my mom liked to say.

As I wrote to my friend somewhere in this Huntsman video there’s a brilliant concept busting to get out.

 

Spitting on the table

June 14, 2011

I wanted to write about this video not because it’s any good, and certainly not because I agree with anything in it. I find it offensive and racist and sexist. I wanted to post about it only because it’s a classic example of what I call spitting on the table. What’s spitting on the table you may ask? It’s an example I always use to show the difference between getting attention and getting the right kind of attention.

See it’s easy to get attention. If we were meeting, and I stand up on and spit on the table, you’ll remember me, I’ll get your attention, and you may even talk to your spouse or friends about me after the meeting.  Of course, you’ll probably tell them about the crazy guy who spit on the table.

It’s one thing to get attention, it’s another thing to get attention for what you want to be remembered for — to be on-emotion and on-message. This video may be vaguely on message, but it’s so misses the mark on-emotion (offensive and in your face) that I doubt it would be effective at all. In fact the campaign that it’s supporting has come out against it as well.

I’m sure the group running this mess thought it was brilliant, that it everyone was going to be writing about it, that it was going to crush their opponent. They’ll have to be satisfied with one of out three…, like I said it’s easy to get attention, but what you do with it when folks are watching, well therein lies the rub.

 

 


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