Archive for December, 2011

Whatever works…?

December 8, 2011

A quick post: Crossroads GPS is up with a new ad today attacking Elizabeth Warren who has moved to an early lead against incumbent Scott Brown.

I like the graphics and the look of this ad. I do find the V/O a little snarky especially the “Tell professor Warren….” at the end. In a vacuum, I think trying to muddy the waters on Warren’s anti-wall street credentials is smart if dangerous play — dangerous because I’m not sure you can get voter’s to believe it, as it goes against the story they hold in their heads and the facts.

But that discussion is moot in the face of the real issue with this ad: it’s totally intellectually dishonest.  Forget the facts for the moment, just a few weeks ago, they were attacking Warren for being the intellectual foundation of Occupy Wall Street, now they’re saying she’s in league with Wall Street? Just how dumb does Crossroads believe voters are?  I really find this approach insulting and an affront to political advertising. It’s one thing to shift your message, as the winds of the electorate swirl, but this ad isn’t a shift, it’s a complete u-turn from what they were saying in their previous ad.

Crossroads obviously thinks they can manipulate voters into believing whatever they see on TV, and they’re going to say anything to win, what ever works right? Wrong. It’s a cynical ploy to play on voters anger, and it’s just wrong and immoral. It’s not the only reason Americans hate politics and politicians, but this is as good as reason as any.

And the Nominee is…

December 5, 2011

I was planning to just look at Rick Perry’s new ad today, but then Newt went ahead and released his first spot of the primary season, so it’s a twofer Monday here at Ad Nauseum.

I really liked this ad from Perry which basically takes ownership of his much discussed brain fart. It felt pretty authentic, and I think Perry does a good job delivering the lines. There’s not much else to the ad, the issue and positioning stuff is really just filler. I frankly can’t remember any of it —  I’ll always remember this as Perry’s apology ad, even though that’s only about half the ad. There’s a point to be made here: That you can’t cram too much into an ad, basically in :30 people will remember one or two elements. If you want them to remember more, then you can have one overarching theme, and the other elements need to connect to them, but even then, it’s the overarching theme that resonates with an audience.

The delivery is smooth, and not too forced, though I wouldn’t go so far to say natural. Still, I think Perry comes off as likable, and this ad could only help remind folks why they were so excited about Perry to begin with. My biggest question about the ad is the timing. I think this ad comes too late to really stem the damage from the debate. An ad like this a couple days after the debate mistake or possibly a week afterwards might have muted the criticism, and showed Perry as a likable guy who could good naturally admit mistakes.  Coming almost three weeks after the gaffe, I really wonder if audiences have moved on.

In the first 10-15 seconds of Newt’s first ad, I thought I was really going to like it. It’s exactly the kind of message I think a Republican should be using (talking about American exceptionalism in nostalgic and reverential tones). But after those first 15 seconds, the spot doesn’t really go anywhere except to Newt.

I can’t quite put my finger on why it’s so flat. I really like the images (the Marines marching, the hand on the amber waves of grain, the flags), so I don’t think it’s the visuals (except the weird cross fade from the Statue of Liberty).  I wonder if it’s the music which starts as emotional, but never builds or goes anywhere. Much like the spot, the music seems to meander, once it’s made it’s central point. The spot seems almost tamped down. I wonder if that was a deliberate choice?

Maybe they’re trying to play Newt against type, he’s known as being fiery, so we’ll play him calm and mellow. I’m not sure that really works here, even though I think the message is appealing to voters.

At the end of the day, I think voters will respond to this ad, it’s compelling enough, but just so.


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