Posts Tagged ‘Lugar’

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.

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What’s wrong with this spot?

July 20, 2011

Dick Lugar is up with his new ad, trying to reach out to a party base that may have passed him by.

If they had come to me first and asked me what I thought, here’s how the conversation might have played out:

Me: “I like the last line, ‘a veteran fighting along side our new recruits, will help them….’ Do we need the ‘I’ll hope you agree before it?”

Them: “Well, [insert person’s name here, senator, staff, pollster, wife, donor] insisted that it be in there, makes him seem like a regular guy, you know?:

Me: “Ok, well it sounds kinda weak, when we want him to sound strong. Isn’t that the point of the spot? That’s he’s taken on this problems before, that’s he been toughened by age and experience? Now, why no music? It’s an interesting choice.”

Them: “Yeah, well we didn’t want to make it seem like a political commercial.”

Me: “Oh, you have a senator speaking directly to camera, but you didn’t want it to feel like a political commercial? Right now it feels really flat, music could help give an emotional frame to the spot.”

Them: “We didn’t want to seem like were trying too hard or being manipulative?”

Me: “Ok, well, to be honest the spot feels a little desperate right now, like Lugar is begging for support, it feels a little pandery [is that a word, pandering?]. And, well, what the word, the Senator, well, he comes off as kinda old looking. That’s what struck me the first time he’s on screen.”

Them: “Really? We had a special make-up artist who works with aging rock stars.” [That’s a true story, I used a make-up woman who’s specialty was aging rock stars, she used a spray gun to paint on the make up of an aging man running for office.]

Me: “Well he looks and sounds old, and he’s a little weirdly happy, when he should be more intense or something, again music would help….”

Them (looking increasingly like they want to leave): “Yeah. What else?”

Me: “What’s up with the Reagan shots.”

Them: “Conservatives love Reagan, Lugar worked with Reagan, therefore conservatives love Lugar. Get it?”

Me: “Yeah, well, the shots look dated, and make you realize that Lugar has been in office a long time. Who told him to smile the whole time? <Sigh>”

Them: “So basically, you think it’s emotionally flat, he smiles too much, looks old, and seems like he’s pandering?”

Me: “Exactly, and I just don’t buy it, feels like he’s trying to be something he’s not comfortable with.”

Them: “And that…”

Me: “Is that new, did I not say that before?”

Them: “No…”

Me: “Oh, ok, yeah it feels inauthentic too. Alright well, good first cut, let’s get back into the edit room and fix it.”

Well, it would have went something like that.


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