Posts Tagged ‘Rahm’

Being in Harmony

January 5, 2011

Been a long time between posts, part of that is the season, part of that is the lack of things to post about, part of that is I’ve moved a lot of quick hits over to Twitter, where I usually post a few times a week if not a day.

What would I do without Rahm?  Wait for superbowl ads I guess. Another ad for the former congressman, turned White House chief of staff, turned candidate for Chicago Mayor.

Pretty standard stuff, a couple of things jumped out at me:

  • It was a contrast in tones, the music and images serve to contrast a pretty tough on crime message. It seems like a deliberate effort to ‘tone’ down the image of Rahm as a firebrand, but allow him to appear tough and passionate without the histrionics. The danger is if this isn’t the real Rahm, that the effort appears as manipulative.  I don’t think that is the case, but it is something I’d worry about.
  • The line “These gangbanger… don’t own the streets…” is at once awkward and power.  Don’t hear the word gangbangers tossed around in elections too much these days.
  • Mentioning Clinton, the entire ad seems aimed at lower income and minority communities where the former President is still extremely popular.  Is this the campaign’s attempt to hold off the challenge of Carol Mosely Braun?
  • The choice of crime is an interested one, and a further one that makes me think this spot is targeted to a particular audience. Even so, there must have been some strong polling out there because crime is a particularly rare issue these days (terrorism yes, street crime not so much).

So overall this ad is alright, doesn’t stand out, and isn’t as good as the first one which is the best of the bunch.  It appears to be serving a tactical purpose, but at least at seems to be matching the tone of the others even when taking on an issue that often has a harsher tone than they’ve shown so far.

Embrace your story

December 10, 2010

The second Rahm ad has been out a while now.

If there was more out there to talk about, I’d probably not even bother with this ad.  It’s not bad, but it’s not particularly good either.  I like that it tells a story.  Stories are always more powerful than facts.  Compare an ad like this to the Reid or Lincoln pork ads (they brought $XX million to our state). People can connect with stories, they can put themselves in the shoes of the people in the story, stories are emotional, facts are cold and unmemorable.

Jonah Lehrer explains this effect around charitable giving on NPR: Basically, the story of one starving child doubles contributions from the fact that five million are malnourished.

The ad tells a pretty good if common story. The most powerful aspect of the ad is how it embraces what people probably already know about Rahm — his temper, his bulldogedness, they embrace it and frame it for viewers.  Because it’s not new information, but simply information put into a different frame, its probably more believable for folks.  Rahm isn’t a monster or someone with a temper, but he feels the righteous indignation to fight the good fight.  More than that he wins the good fight, not for himself, but for real people who need help.


I’m not a SOB…, I’m you.

November 15, 2010

I miss political ads.  There I said it, you heard it.  I miss them, in all their glorious negativity and cliche grainy shots, I miss them. But just as I going to start a loop of the Daisy Ad, Morning in America, Willie Horton (which is actually a horrible ad), and Fast Talker, along comes my savior, the Chicago Mayor’s race.

Hey this guy looks familiar (actually he looks a little like George Clooney the way he’s dressed and with that salt and pepper hair). If I was Rahm’s political consultant, I would tell him the biggest hurdle he would have to overcome is to make him accessible. Some of this opinion might be inside the beltwayitis, but the notion Rahm and his personality are almost mythic.

The question of how to introduce a candidate is always a hard one. I like that they decided not to go for a traditional biography spot instead opting for a vision ad.  Well, really the vision part of it is a MacGuffin, it seems to me what they’re really trying to do is make Rahm a real likable person — to allow voters to connect to him.  They do a pretty good job of that too, grounding him as someone who is passionate about Chicago.

That’s a pretty powerful opening line, “Chicago is a great city, with great people, and I want my children to feel as passionate about it as I did growing up.” There’s a lot going on in that one line, some bio (has kids, he grew up here), some character (he’s passionate), and some values (a sense that he’s going to fight, that he wants to pass something important down to his kids). It’s something every parent can connect with, passing something down important to their children. That in and of itself makes Rahm human in a way a more tradition spot could not. It’sa line that’s working with the philosophy of “show don’t tell.”

Is this a great spot? No, but it’s a solid B, maybe B+. Visually it has the requisite shots of the candidate talking with folks, shaking hands interacting with kids in the classroom when you discuss education or with cops when you’re talking about “our streets.” No, the visuals are pretty standard and a couple (the rack focus taking Rahm out of focus and the end shot where’s he shaking hands, but not really looking at the guy) are odd choices.  The documentary style adds to a sense that he’s not pre-packaged and it creates a sense of reality that enhances the believability of the ad.

Essentially this ad is trying to do what the Christine O’Donnell witch spot could not, which is to take the image folks might have of the candidate and turn it (or spin it if you will) into something more positive. This spot works because it doesn’t ever go to far from what folks already know — if they had tried to show Rahm as all soft and cuddly then it would feel fake. Instead, they take the strengths of his image, and say he’s passionate and can make tough choices, now that’s believable.

My biggest complaint of the witch ad was that O’Donnell didn’t seem believable, this ad doesn’t have the problem, I think it’s very believable, and does a good job framing Rahm, which is ultimately the goal of your initial ad.

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