Posts Tagged ‘arkansas’

That’s a mouthful… (and my “but” rule)

August 7, 2013

My first thought: Wow, Senator Pryor really doesn’t like Tom Cotton.

My Second Thoughts: This is part of a new trend of early ads (this ad is for an election over a year away) whether to buck up your support or keep your opponent from every gaining steam, these ads are becoming increasingly common.

My Third Thought: What a mess. They start by hitting Cotton for blind ambition, but then say, “…but let’s talk about Cotton’s record.” I have a rule of life — everything before the but is either a lie or doesn’t matter. You’re a great guy… but… You’re doing great work… but…. That’s a terrific point… but….

So we have blind ambition and then a litany of issues Cotton is on the wrong side of.  So what’s the walk away here? What’s my new story about Cotton? There is none. This ad seems akin to pouring gas on a car, hoping some will get into the tank. Ads should make choices, they should weave a story, but there’s no choice here except a chocie to throw the kitchen sink at the guy.

So instead of hammering a message, introducing a story about Cotton,  there’s no message and nothing to hang your hat on, except this is another political ad, isn’t it early for that?

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Dueling Arkansas ads

June 1, 2010

I had meant to write a dueling ads post when looking at the Halter ad, but I got distracted by other issues.

I find the Lincoln ad much weaker than the Halter ads.  The ad teeters on the brink of being interested and connecting, but swerves too much into rational argument and does not do enough to leverage the power of emotion.  Lincoln’s actually really good to camera, the problem is, I just don’t believe her.  I like the I know you’re angry at Washington, but I feel it isn’t followed up with anything, won’t back down to the Unions and Banks? Huh?

I wish she had just stared with, “I’m Blanche Lincoln, and I approve this message because I’d rather lose this election fighting for what’s right, than win by compromising on my values.  I know voters are angry….”  The other crap is really useless here, for Lincoln to win now, she has to show voters she gets it, she needs to connect with them, and show them she’s seen the light.

Now that’s pretty unlikely given that she hasn’t “gotten it” yet, and there’s little reason to believe she’s making anything other than an election eve conversion.  And that’s the problem, when you don’t really believe in anything (or at least don’t appear to believe in anything) other than getting re-elected, you don’t engender any loyalty in voters.  The mistake the campaign has made from the first ad I reviewed was trying to tell voters what was in it for them, rather focusing on connecting with voters.  Given recent polls, Arkansas Democrats are obviously decided what’s in it for them is sending a message.

The sincerest form of flattery

June 1, 2010

Can’t avoid the Halter Lincoln race as much as I would like to.

Does this ad seem familiar to you?

I like these kind of slice of life ads.  The Halter ad is a little too heavy on issues for my taste, but I suppose they got to put it in there.  It feels like it’s trying just a little too hard to be homey.  Compare it to the Brown ad which is more authentic and organic. Still, I think these ads are about likability, and they’re about the kind of person who is supporting the candidate.  And I think the Halter ad succeeds on that front.

Rob Walker in his book, “Buying In,” makes the case that we buy products that reinforce the image we have of ourselves.  So essentially, the places we shop, the foods we eat tell a story about us, a story we want to convey to the world.  I don’t go to Starbucks, I go to Dunkin Donuts — that says something about your identity to the world.  I think it’s true for candidates as well. I remember during the primary a unnamed woman friend of mine agonized who to vote for, Obama or Clinton.  She tried to rationalize her choice of Clinton, but still felt unsatisfied.  After she voted we spoke, I asked who she voted for and she Clinton, but added, “I feel like a traitor to my generation.”  Her identity as a woman was stronger in that moment, but she was conflicted because of what voting for Obama represented — change, being hip, being a true progressive etc, hope.  Clinton was the status quo.  She was so worried about what her vote said about her she swore me to secrecy.  That’s the power of identity, choice and stories.

That’s a lot of weight to thirty seconds.

More dueling ads in Arkansas

March 24, 2010

Long delay from blogging, sorry and thanks for sticking around.  Travel and real work keeping me from writing, but it’s time to focus now.  Bunch of health care ads coming up trying to frame the post debate debate.  I’ll try to look at those tomorrow.  In the meantime, back to Arkansas:

This is a beautiful ad.  I love the shots from the house to the silhouettes, to the details, to the shots of Lincoln in the committee room, really tight work.  The shots are so evocative, but I find them fighting with the script. The script is really a meat and potatoes script about being a committee chairperson and the power that brings to Arkansas.  I’ve never been sure if that line of reasoning (your incumbent has a lot of power) works.  It probably polls well, but I wonder if it’s too rational an argument to make. It almost feels like a bribe to me.  

In any case, while I’m not sure the imagery works with the transactional message, it’s a whole lot better than this Harry Reid ad which makes a similar argument to Nevada voters:

Compared to this Reid ad, the Lincoln ad feels like a ball of emotion.  The Reid ad is your standard political “good enough” ad, but it does nothing to connect.  Lincoln at least tries to connect by using the surrogate of the farmer to talk about her power, she tried to make it personal.  If you’re going to make an ad along the lines of the powerful incumbent, the Lincoln ad is about as good as you can get.

Two ads from primary challenger Bill Halter:

I just don’t get the coach ad.  It feels hokey and not serious enough to make Halter serious, but not really funny enough to be amusing.  


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