Posts Tagged ‘daisy ad’

The sincerest form of flattery

July 21, 2010

Spring is gone, but Daisies seem to be springing up everywhere.  First we have this offering from Bill Cooper:

Then we have this one against Aaron Schock

[Editor Note: This ad was actually done in 2008, and a very talented friend of mine made it. Didn’t know either of those things when I posted this. Adam]

It’s a good year to be a young blond girl actor.

It’s nice that both these ads try to play off the original “Daisy ad” — a classic of political advertising. That ad (which only ran once by the way) was both visceral and evocative.  These ads hope to tap into that fear and emotion to drive their message.

Do they work?  Not so much in my opinion.

The Cooper ad even tries to mimic the LBJ’s voice over, but as bad as you think the deficit is, isn’t not like nuclear war, and it doesn’t summon up the same fear or gut level emotion as the original.

The Callahan ad against Schock at least has to do with the threat of nuclear attack.  The issue here is that I don’t think voters really know what the ad means.  It seems so outside where we are these days to worry about nuclear weapons in Taiwan.  Maybe Callahan is ahead of the game, but the issue isn’t on my top 10.  I know it shows bad judgement, but it’s hard to get worked up over it.  If you only have so many chances to go negative, would you want to use one of those opportunities on nuclear weapons to Taiwan?

The problem with both these ads is that the daisy setup is a double edged sword: On one hand, you’re tapping into the myth of the original. On the other hand, you’re setting up an obvious comparison to the original.

I think both ads lose on that comparison. It sort of like they used the framework of the original, but missed the point of it.

And yes, if I’m going to talk about the “Daisy ad” I have to show it:

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Imagination, Obama, and Hope

July 1, 2009

Did Obama win because of his ads?

His campaign just won a Titanium & Integrated award at the prestigious Cannes International Advertising Festival. The Obama campaign did almost everything right. It was maybe the best one I’ll ever witness. But, the ads? Eh…

Ad Age’s ad review columnist Bob Garfield writes in his Cannes round-up about the Obama award, “…the messaging was as creatively barren as it was tactically brilliant. There was no “Morning in America” in this campaign. No “Daisy.” No any single thing that stood out. Cannes has just awarded two Grand Prix to a back office. It’s like giving the best-picture Oscar to the turn-off-your-cellphones announcement.”

Garfield asks, “Shouldn’t recognition go to those who exhibit startling ingenuity in messaging — not technological ingenuity in dispersing the message, but imagination in the message and medium themselves?”

Look, the ads were adequate, but there was nothing about them that stood out. There was nothing imaginative or creative about them. Obama won despite his mediocre ads, not because of it. Most campaigns can’t do that.

Ads are less important for a presidential campaign — no other race gets even close to the same level of exposure. Most campaigns need creative, message-driven ads to break through and create that same inspiration. Political ads that offer “imagination in the message and the medium” can act as creative leverage — gaining attention that far outweighs the amount of time they air. (Think of the Daisy ad; for all its fame, it only aired once.) When they win voters’ hearts, campaigns win voters’ minds, and candidates win elections.

Maybe this is a bigger issue than I have time for, but I would even argue that part of the reason people are fed up with politics is the lack of imagination in political messaging. Obama captured something, a feeling — of hope, of change. It was a different campaign, even if the ads didn’t necessarily express that difference; people responded anyway.

In an election, you can always overwhelm your opponent with more money, a solid message and numbing repetition, but wouldn’t it be better — better for politicians, better for campaigns, better for voters, to have a great message and outsmart your opponent with imaginatively delivered content? Not only is that more cost-effective, but it might even change how people feel about their elected leaders.

[My Note: Just saw this intro video for David Plouffe at Cannes, now this is interesting, wish the actual ads had looked like this:


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