Stuffed full

Rick Santorum is surging in the polls, and sure has a lot to say in his newest ad:

When I saw this ad, I wanted to comment about it, but can’t remember what I wanted to say. So je may have more to say in the ad than I have to say commenting about the ad, but here goes.

Let see he says:

First, he opens with a rhetorical question, who has the best chance to beat Obama… alright, I guess he’s setting us up for the big reveal… it’s him!

Next he declares himself a full spectrum conservative. I love when consultants make up phrases to cover some concept they need to explain quickly.  Of course, I’m not sure what full spectrum conservative means, but maybe all those half and quarter spectrum conservatives get it.

Third idea in the spot: A favorite of the tea party…. So this goes along with conservative full or half spectrum. But is the tea party really known for their strong stand on fighting corruption?

Forth, a jobs plan (cause you know, people care about jobs) that’ll make America an economic super power again. (How’s that? Well, he said it so it must be true.)

Fifth a summary of what they’ve said though now he’s a “trusted” conservative who can beat Obama.

That’s a lot of ideas to get across all at once, it feels like he’s trying to make up for lost time, and get in all his good arguments all at once. It’s a lot to take in, and even harder given the odd choice of music that sounds like it was stolen from an 80’s news open (wish I could find the scene from “Broadcast News” where the composer introduces his new opening music, and big finish).

Visually the ad is the typical with a lot of pretty shots of Santorum with his family (because you know he has values and he’s a full spectrum conservative) — not really interesting.

You never know the decision behind running an ad, all you can do it speculate, but it sure feels like the Santorum folks feel like they’re only getting one shot at this apple, so they better throw everything and the kitchen sink into one ad.  I can understand that desire, but I believe they would have been better off, slowing it down, and focusing on one or two things — like the conservative to beat obama theme, maybe letting the CG do some of the policy work (CG: “A jobs plan… Restore America to an Economic super power”).  Sometimes when you try to say it all, you say nothing. Not sure this ad fails that badly, but it kinda just gets lost in itself.



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2 Responses to “Stuffed full”

  1. Joe Says:

    I don’t have much to say about the ad regarding music and photos, but I don’t think it fails at all. You say it packs in too much. It probably is a “Holy crap, we won a few primaries and now need to assert ourselves in a short amount of time!” ad. However, I think it is effective given that the target market is the Republican Primary voter who has had a mess of candidates to choose from, and only has a few left who still make them feel uneasy in some way or another.

    Yes, Rick made a handful of empty assertions, but they all hit on the requisite buzzwords necessary to pique an undecided primary voter’s attention. My feeling is that when preaching to the choir you can gloss over things (you are all on the same team after all) as long as your tone is positive and focused on the “enemy.” If this ad had been pitting him against his other competitors then, yes, he would need to narrow the focus, add some meat, and differentiate. Given that the President was the target of this ad, I think the most effective part of the ad was that I felt positive about whatever it was I just saw.

    Santorum finds himself as something of an unknown to the national Republican primary voter. He is not trying to change people’s minds; he gets to create himself. Those who know of him know that he is traditionally fiscally conservative, and radically socially conservative.

    The audience they are going for is grasping at straws, and, given the current schizophrenia of the party, I think the term “full spectrum conservative” can be effective in light of who he is up against (a guy who actually passed universal healthcare as Governor, and another guy whose actions belie any stance on “family values” that the party so tenuously claims to vehemently uphold).


    • Adam Strasberg Says:

      I think you’re right about preaching to choir, and it might be effective despite being stuffed full.

      I guess I would ask could it have been more effective. Sometimes more is less. And sometimes you try to say so much, you end up saying nothing, I don’t think ad says nothing, and it leaves me with a generally positive impression of Santorum (if I was a full-spectrum conservative), but given the huge amounts of money that Romney is going to spend taring and feathering Santorum, you want to leave your audience with a strong feeling, and I don’t think the ad accomplishes that.

      If it had hammered one theme for 30 seconds that resonated with conservative voters, I think Santorum would be better off.

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