A tale of Two ads (in one)

A couple of posts ago, I looked at the Tammy Baldwin ad where she talks about taking care of her grandmother. That ad failed because it forgot about telling a story in favor of relying talking points. The story was really just a MacGuffin, so it rang as inauthentic.

Now we have Mazie Hirono’s ad “Determined.”

So I really loved this ad or should I say the first :30 seconds of this ad. The graphics and pictures are wonderful, and I find her story totally compelling and interesting. Because this ad is a :60 second ad it let her really unwind the story without rushing.

Unfortunately it’s :60 second ad, and they felt compelled to get back to the issues because campaigns are supposed to be about the issues. Look, I know what people tell you they way (to quote Henry Ford, “If I asked people what they wanted, they would have told me they wanted faster horses”), but values are issues, and frankly I learned more about Mazie Hirono from the “soft” first :30 seconds than I did from the “hard” blah blah blah issues back end.

The transition from story to issues was awkward too, she’s telling a pretty personal story about her mother and growing up and suddenly the narrator interrupts (and it felt like interrupting) riffing off the word “determined.”

Look the issues part of the ad isn’t bad, it’s really nicely laid out and designed.  The issues are interesting, and not the same old same old we normally hear, but it’s an entirely different ad. It’s not like a Resses peanut butter cup (hey you got your chocolate in my peanut butter, you got your peanut butter in my chocolate…). Instead of :60, they might have been better off running 2 x :30 a bio/story spot and an issues spot that built off it.

I don’t know if the second part of the ad diffuses the power of the first, but it certainly gets lost in the emotional connection of the first part. Sometimes less is more.

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