Posts Tagged ‘Santorum’

Dueling ads – The Republican Presidential Primary

February 17, 2012

In sports there’s something called a challenge trade — when two teams trade underperforming players at the same position.  Romney and Santorum are engaged in something of a challenge air war.  Romney err, Restore our Future is up attacking Santorum, trying to undermine Santorum’s conservative street cred.

The ad is pretty mediocre, basically a message delivery device without much creativity. But the point is to try and muddy the waters and subvert Santorum’s message that he’s the real conservative — would the “right” choice really vote <gasp> to raise the debt limit? If Romney’s not a man of the people, then neither is Santorum the “Ultimate washington insider.” If I was grading the ad, I would probably say it’s about a C or C+ if I was feeling generous. There’s nothing really wrong about it,but there’s nothing compelling or interesting.  Actually not sure why they include the Romney stuff, it’s not really catchy

Santorum on the other hand is running a pretty interesting ad with an interesting strategy behind it. It’s a gimmick ad, but the gimmick works because it reinforces the message. “Rombo” is on the lose shooting mud at Santorum.  It’s actually a pretty clever concept, and they certainly go all the way with it, down to an actor who looks like Romney.  I like the concept the execution is good, but not great, but I think the strategy behind it is just as clever.

Rombo also is subtlety subversive — Romney isn’t the tough conservative he plays on TV (Rambo), but some kind of phony “Rombo” shooting a mud in a white shirt and tie. It’s a slight jab, but  the subtext might be more effective at capturing the anti-Romney malaise that Republican primary voters are feeling than the text.

Santorum can’t compete with Romney’s cash advantage (I saw it as at least 3:1). This ad is trying to functionally dislocate Romney’s advantage — it’s not an unusual strategy, but well played in this case. The hope is to remind voters of Romney’s negatives every time you see a Romney ad attacking Santorum. While, I’m not a fan of the ultimatum approach at the end, I still think given the execution of the ad it could be effective in helping to blunt Romney’s advantage.

By wrapping the message around such an entertaining and off-beat concept, Santorum might be able to poison Romney’s negative ads.

The easy winner this round is Santorum.  The only question is can Santorum continue to move and out flank Romney.

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Stuffed full

February 15, 2012

Rick Santorum is surging in the polls, and sure has a lot to say in his newest ad:

When I saw this ad, I wanted to comment about it, but can’t remember what I wanted to say. So je may have more to say in the ad than I have to say commenting about the ad, but here goes.

Let see he says:

First, he opens with a rhetorical question, who has the best chance to beat Obama… alright, I guess he’s setting us up for the big reveal… it’s him!

Next he declares himself a full spectrum conservative. I love when consultants make up phrases to cover some concept they need to explain quickly.  Of course, I’m not sure what full spectrum conservative means, but maybe all those half and quarter spectrum conservatives get it.

Third idea in the spot: A favorite of the tea party…. So this goes along with conservative full or half spectrum. But is the tea party really known for their strong stand on fighting corruption?

Forth, a jobs plan (cause you know, people care about jobs) that’ll make America an economic super power again. (How’s that? Well, he said it so it must be true.)

Fifth a summary of what they’ve said though now he’s a “trusted” conservative who can beat Obama.

That’s a lot of ideas to get across all at once, it feels like he’s trying to make up for lost time, and get in all his good arguments all at once. It’s a lot to take in, and even harder given the odd choice of music that sounds like it was stolen from an 80’s news open (wish I could find the scene from “Broadcast News” where the composer introduces his new opening music, and big finish).

Visually the ad is the typical with a lot of pretty shots of Santorum with his family (because you know he has values and he’s a full spectrum conservative) — not really interesting.

You never know the decision behind running an ad, all you can do it speculate, but it sure feels like the Santorum folks feel like they’re only getting one shot at this apple, so they better throw everything and the kitchen sink into one ad.  I can understand that desire, but I believe they would have been better off, slowing it down, and focusing on one or two things — like the conservative to beat obama theme, maybe letting the CG do some of the policy work (CG: “A jobs plan… Restore America to an Economic super power”).  Sometimes when you try to say it all, you say nothing. Not sure this ad fails that badly, but it kinda just gets lost in itself.

 

 


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