Posts Tagged ‘Desperate’

I love the smell of desperation in the morning….

April 6, 2012

Sometimes it’s hard to write about bad ads, sometimes it just makes me angry ,or makes me feel like I’m repeating myself. But sometimes an ad is so bad and cliche, well it just tickles me:

In what has got to be seen as one of the worst campaigns of the year so far, Dick Lugar comes up with one of hte most cliche and desperate ads of the year. Lugar you may know has taken heat for basically living in DC for 36 years while representing the state of Indiana.That probably wouldn’t be so bad, but it only reinforces a growing image among conservatives and votrs in general that Lugar is out of touch. So in this context a little political aikido would be perfect.

This ad feels less like Aikido and more like… Inspector Clouseau. First off all, I was confused, “Washington Outside Groups”? It’s a strange turn of phrase, usually we’re worried about inside groups, what they mean is groups from Washington, outside of Indiana, but the phrase is awkard enough that it wasn’t clear to me at first.

The next point that struck me as odd was the attack itself. Murdock is saying he’s going to get national money, I guess if you’re Dick Lugar and people think you’re not in touch with the state that might be an issue, but I wonder if it’s too inside baseball for most voters to really care. Inside baseball is a term we use from time to time, it means, focusing on the internal politics of a situation, how you make the sausage — the kind of stuff that political junkies love. But most voters really don’t care about inside politics, it feels, well, too political to them. They can be made to care if the inside baseball attack somehow resonates back to the story they already believe.

Finally let’s talk about cliche. The music the voice over are so over the top, it really feels like the “Mickey Mouse” politics it talks about in the ad. Cliche can be useful, but in this case it just weighs the ad down. It’s so overtly negative that it leaves the viewer no place to go, no room to put themselves into the ad emotionally.

So let’s see we got awkward phrasing of an inside baseball attack that presented in a very cliche execution… what’s that leave us with? Desperation. I read a study that said most casualties in combat don’t happen during the combat itself, but during the retreat. One side starts to retreat, and suddenly the retreat turns into a route. Desperation is a bit like that. This ad wants to present strength, but really it only represent’s Lugar’s weakness.

Advertisements

That’s the Chicago Way…

June 30, 2010

“They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. *That’s* the *Chicago* way!” – The Untouchables

“The Untouchables” was one of my favorite movies in High School.  I have no idea if it still holds up, but I sure did love it, and it had more than its share of memorable lines.

I quoted the line above as a lead into the battle for Illinois Senate. (I know Illinois is not only Chicago, but it’s a great quote and relevant, so bear with me.)

A couple of months ago, it seemed that Alexis Ginnoulias’ campaign was going down because of the failure of his family’s bank, I wrote about his ad coming out of that scandal here. Well, now it appears that Mark Kirk’s campaign has hit a seemingly insurmountable scandal.

After a month of dodging and hiding, Kirk has decided to try and put the heat back on his opponent with two ads:

I like how the BP add touts Kirk’s environmental record, it’s unexpected so it gets my attention.  I’m not so taken with the attack on Giannoulias.  It’s a little all over the place, an aide worked for BP and he’s for higher energy taxes?  The fact that the narrator is trying make some link for me doesn’t really help, if you don’t feel or see the link for yourself if you have to be told (“Big differences on the environment and taxes”) it loses its power.

The second ad is more of the same, it’s hiting Giannoulias for being only 34, then hitting him for loans to mobsters, then losing money in the College fund as treasurer, then he supports higher taxes for more spending. It’s a lot to pack into one ad, and while they’re supposed to be linked thematically (you can’t trust him with your money), I’m still trying to take in the information as the next item comes up, and in the end, I don’t really get any of it either emotionally or intellectually.

The last line bothers me too, “Alexi Giannoulias, trust him with your money…” It’s supposed to be a question, but the read doesn’t quite pull it off, and it feels awkward — I think they ran out of time for the narrator to either ask the question or give the line the inflection it needed.

I had a friend who worked in commercial advertising who always wondered why political ads had so much crap pilled into them.  This is a perfect example of that approach, “Hey, let’s pull all the lines that polled well against Giannoulias.” I think this ad and the previous one would have been better off with a less is more approach.

The overall sense with two ads, is that the Kirk campaign is wildly throwing haymakers trying to counter punch it’s way out of the corner, instead of using a timed timed Jab that catches the other campaign off balance.  If I was working on the Kirk campaign, I would worry this approach would come off as desperate, fighting from weakness and fear instead of confidence and strength.  I also wonder if Kirk wouldn’t have been better off facing the elephant in the room, apologizing on the air, and turning that apology into his core message somehow.

The Giannoulias folks obviously were expecting an attack because 24 hours after Kirk’s attack they released their own attack on Kirk:

I think their approach is interesting: There’s no narrator, just the disembodied voice of newscasters, reporting and discussing  Kirk’s lies and misrepresentations (and Kirk himself uttering them).  It’s entirely focused on that one issue, and obviously the creators thought enough of the attack to let the ad run one minute.  Compare this to the sixty seconds (over two ads) of the Kirk attacks…. I think the difference is clear. I’m not sure I could repeat any individual Kirk misrepresentation, but I think the overall impression, that Kirk has repeatedly said things he knows to be untrue, sticks with me.  While on the other side, I’m not sure if any of his attacks stays with me cleanly (frankly the thing I remember most is that Giannoulias is 34, which I think makes him accomplished in my eyes, not too young).

My one quibble is the final line, “Typical Washington Politician,” feels like too much of a cliche to describe this situation, kind of a stretch as well. I might have ended with all the quotes on the screen, and let the viewer make their own conclusion.

Still I think the lesson for today is as hard as it is to cut good stuff from an ad, less is often more.

In my opinion, Kirk brought a knife to a gunfight, a definite no-no. This round goes to Giannoulias.


%d bloggers like this: