Posts Tagged ‘blah’

How does David beat Goliath?

May 23, 2013

Barbara Buono has an uphill battle, convincing New Jersey voters that popular Governor Chris Christie hasn’t done as good a job as people think. While Christie’s been up for a while Buono is spening $1m in the New York market (which isn’t that much in that market) with this ad.

The ad is professional, but it’s really not compelling. It picks up a little steam when :20 in when they show the picture of her dad with the sausage, but they don’t have the time or inclination to dwell there, rather they throw out hackneyed platitudes about pulling yourself up.

Here’s the thing … you’re trying to convince people of something they don’t believe, fine that’s the purpose of advertising –if people agreed with you, would you need to advertise? But when you’re facing Goliath, David is foolish to fight toe to toe. I sometimes talk about attrition warfare here, and that’s the strategy Buono is taking.

I’m getting a litte far afield from the ad istelf, but if the goal if this ad is to convince people that Christie has done a bad job, why would it? It’s a political he said/she said, Christie starts with the high ground, he has more resources, and Buono is charging her army in a frontal assualt.

What should she do? Maneuver, don’t fight him straight on, fight asymmetrically, hit Christie on an issue they don’t see coming or one that goes to the heart of his credibility. Throwing three charges against him is akin to saying nothing, it becomes political blah, blah, blah.   Maybe that issue doesn’t exist, then find something that people can hook into, something that resonates, something that’s emotional not rational (and especially not rational when people already disagree with you).

An ad like this works only if you have favorable terrain and equal or better resources.

It’s a safe ad, but when you’re fighting Goliath, playing it safe only plays to his game not yours.

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A good story should connect the dots

May 8, 2013

Last time Terry McAufliffe ran for governor he lost the primary. I think I looked at his ads back then and thought they looked inauthentic.

He’s running again, no primary this time, are his ads any better?

This is one of those ads that tries to connect the dots, but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to walk away thinking. I thought the first part about where he talks about starting a business was interesting, but then it veers into family and creating jobs. I’ve been slowly re-reading the classic book “Made to Stick.” In the chapter on Simple (one of the rules of SUCCESS), the say (wisely) that if you say three things you aren’t saying anything.

That’s kinda how I feel about this ad. It’s sort of a broad brush paint by numbers approach, that pretends to tell you something but really doesn’t say anything particularly interesting. They hit all the highlights for me, but don’t really tell me a story that puts all the pieces together. Is he a hard worker? Self starter? Family guy? How exactly does he know (other than a poll) that Viriginia wants good jobs? A good story can create a framework, something to unify those elements. A good story can be told either in the text or subtext, but this ad does neither, so I’m left just watching a bunch of blah, blah, blah.

A tale of Two ads (in one)

July 19, 2012

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.

Just one problem

August 16, 2010

I like the fact that they’re trying.  But I think there’s a problem, when the worst element of your ad is your candidate. Sink comes off as robotic and lifeless.  When the two guys fighting in the background are more interesting than the person talking in the foreground, well, you may want to rethink the ad.


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