Archive for July, 2013

Let’s talk Strategy

July 31, 2013

Not much to say about the video per se, but I thought this video was a good MacGuffin to talk about the comptroller race.

There’s been a lot of talk about Spitzer coming back into politics. Most of it centered around the question of could Spitzer overcome his prostitution scandal. Missed in that conversation or maybe forgotten (mostly) is that Spitzer was a pretty awful governor before he resigned. I wonder if the prostitution scandal didn’t actually save Spitzer’s reputation.  Is it easier to rebound from seeing a prostitute or being a horrible governor?

Well, since Scott Stringer thought it was his his civic duty to remind people that Spitzer’s second act is really the same as his first — claiming to be a reformer then letting everyone down).

Strategically this is probably the best way to go, smarter than pounding Spitzer on the prostitution scandal, which could seem less than honroable and everyone already knows about.

Now this is a video rather than an ad, but it makes the point, pretty straightforwardly. I found the quotes powerful and the press conference scene especially good.

This is Stringer’s best shot to take down Spitzer, and to the extend that it starts a conversation that subverts Spitzer’s appeal it will be successful. But, I wonder if people see two Spitzer’s one the arrogant failed governor who failed and the other a gunslinging Attorney General who kept them safe from the predators of Wall Street and their kind.

Is making the race a referendum on Spitzer enough? I’m not sure. I think Spitzer’s story is too strong in voters’ minds. I think Stringer still needs to sell himself, this needs to be a choice for voters.

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At least he’s trying. Spitzer’s second ad.

July 26, 2013

Gosh I wish Elliot Spitzer could run ads from now till 2014.

I’m not sure this is a great ad, not even sure I like it, but at least the guy (well probably Jimmy Siegel) is trying.

What I like about this ad is it doesn’t hit you over the head with it’s message, doesn’t feel the need to fill the quiet space nor pump you full of talking points. It keeps you waiting, and doesn’t reveal itself till the end and even then, it doesn it with a crinkled newspaper headline. I really appreciate that they trusted their concept.

I’m not sure the music is right, but again, think of how this ad vould have gone: Elliot Spizer has spend a career going after Wall Street… Blah… blah.. blah… Instead of the usual talking points, they engage you with a reveal, and let your imagination fill in the rest (gosh, he has been a thorn in Wall Street’s side) to my mind that’s worth a 1000 talking points.

 

Take the bull by the horns. Spitzer’s first ad

July 23, 2013

When I talk about confronting the elephant in the room, this is exactly what I mean. I when I said Weiner needed to own his mistakes, to incorporate his fall into the rationale for running again, this is what I mean. This ad grabs you right from the start, and it leads with the most important information in a direct way.

“When you dig yourself a whole you can either lie in the rest of your life or you can do something positive….” That’s a great line. Spitzer appears to be talking to an interviewer, but regardless of whether it was written for him or he came up with it, it’s good copy and it’s well delievered. In fact, this ad reminded me of what I like about Spitzer. As I said to a friend, he may be a son of a bitch, but he’s a son of a bitch who’s on my side. That’s really important in politics, but especially for a position like Comptroller, where,… well let’s face it nobody really knows what they’re supposed to do, but you know it’s about making sure things run the way they’re supposed to.

This ad also does a great job of telling a story. Who’s side is Spitzer on? Yours. Who’s he against? Wall Street, big banks, special interests. I think that works because it doesn’t confuse listing issues or accomplishments with telling a story. The subtext could easily be… Once upon a time there was a guy who went after wall street and took on the powerful interests. They didn’t like him very much. Then he made a mistake… Now, he’s risen from the grave to right that wrong, they still don’t like him very much. Good, fuck ’em.

I couldn’t tell you exactly what he says in that section, but what he says is less important than the sense it conveys. (Frankly, I’m not sure what the lesson here is. Is it just a well delivered line? Is it his conviction or past story that we’re familiar with?)

The spot loses me about 40 seconds in when he starts listing his accomplishments, “When I… blah… blah… blah…” Maybe it’s because it seems more about him than us? Or maybe it’s because it’s a little on the nose, a little too much 4 instead of 2+2.  I’d be alright with ending it with “Everyone deserves a fair shot.” Think the “… even me” not only should have been left unsaid, I think it weakens everything that came before it. Is it about him or us? Is he the fallen hero seeking selfless redemtion slaying demons? (They do a great job of tapping that archetype, btw) Or is he a self-absorbed egomaniac who can’t stand being our of the limelight?

I should also mention the visuals, the close up of the glasses, the empire state building shot, which are really good.

All in all, I think this is a really good spot, that has flaws, but also addresses the biggest hurdle Spitzer would face his own fall from grace.

Being for the middle class doesn’t mean you have to be so mediocre

July 19, 2013

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MbYXOyIwaB4

Christine Quinn is the first candidate up in the NYC Mayor’s race. I only have two short comments to make about this relatively generic ad:

1. Even though she appears in every scene in the ad, I never get a sense of who she is, what kind of person, do I like her or not? As I said above, it’s all rather generic.

2. The final line: “While others talk about fighting for the middle class, I’ve been doing it…” Seems slightly ironic because we’ve just spent :30 seconds with you talking about fighting for the middle class. Yes, I understand she was “talking” about her accomplishments, but still I found it… odd. Maybe it’s because the ad is so generic, and I wasn’t emotionally invested so I’m nit-picking or maybe it’s they’re trying to hard to make their point, the ad yells “4” when it should be whispering “2+2.”

3. (Ok, I know I said two short comments, so you don’t have to read this one if you don’t want.) There’s just so many issues in the ad, I get it, you’re trying to create a sense of what’s she’s done, the breadth of her accomplishments, but it feels like they’re trying to say everything and instead they end up saying nothing.

It seems the middle class is the big issue of the NYC Mayor’s race given this ad and the previous Weiner video I reviewed. Frankly I think Weiner video did a better job of being on-emotion, and showing true empathy. This ad is a list of issues, but ends up less than the sum of it’s parts.

It’s hard to be funny… let’s be angry instead.

July 18, 2013

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iiIaNh0NlGo&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DiiIaNh0NlGo

You know this video (and let’s be clear it’s 45 seconds long so it’s not running on TV) has the potential to be really good. But I think it misses the mark. Why? Because I think it’s way off-emotion.

The ObamaCarenado is trendy for sure, but instead of campy parody they go way over the top with fear and anger. Now, I will say I really liked the end, but in general, this video just feels really angry to me, whatever humor it may have is lost in that anger. Now that may play well to the base, but I don’t think it works so well with independent voters.

Good humor and good parody are hard. The video takes the easy way out, trying for neither and I think it accomplishes less because of it. Had they really bought into the Sharknado what could they have accomplished? Instead it just a macguffin to be angry. I guess that’s one way to go, but the creators of Sharknado have nothing to worry about.

Can you have too much message?

July 16, 2013

This ad just leaves me… I don’t know, kinda flat. The message is right, and it seems like it’s on-message, but I wonder if it’s on-emotion?

I know it looks like an interview, but it sounds like talking points. Is it a case of too much message? Or just the wrong emotional delivery? The story doesn’t feel personal.  

BTW, the McAuliffe campaign is up with this minute long ad:

It’s better, though I’m a little confused by the details. Still I think it works better than the social security ad, especially at the end. I think it’s a smart play to make Cuchinelli appear untrustworthy rather than going after him for being extreme or otherwise too partisan. 

 

Wow… this worked. Why? (Dawn Dish Detergent Ad)

July 8, 2013

Watching TV this afternoon, I was caught by surprise by this commercial:

Wow, it was so simple it worked. Dish detergent is pretty much a commodity. I buy the one that smells good (or I think will smell good) or is in a neat bottle. But otherwise I usually don’t think much about it.

After watching this commercial I’m buying Dawn.

Commercials make all sorts of claims all the time, we’re used to it. Unless the brand has some internal credibility, we usually slough it off or we need a third party validator. Well this ad uses a pretty powerful 3rd party validator — I mean we’ve all seen those pictures of the cute animals covered in oil and wondered if they could get cleaned up… well they can with Dawn!

Maybe as much as the validation, this Dawn ad speaks to my story of the consumer I want to be. I can buy something as mundane as dish soap, and be helping the environment? That’s me I love the environemnt.

Ok, so maybe the ad is trying a little too hard to tug at the heartstrings you know what? Next time I go to Target to buy my dish soap, I’m reaching for the Dawn.

 


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