Posts Tagged ‘Scott Brown’

So it’s been a while

October 27, 2011

Yes it has. Sorry for the long absence, as usual with the absences this one was due to not really having anything to write about. That’s not the same as not seeing a lot of ads, there have been some, including the Rick Perry ad that looks like the Tim Pawlenty ads, that looks like “Armageddon.” No, I just felt like I didn’t have anything new to say. Today, I’m not sure if I’m adding to the conversation or not, but it’s time to get back on the wagon with this ad from the League of Conservation voters:

Why did I chose this ad? I actually think it’s clever in the way it takes on Scott Brown’s hometown boy done good image, inverting everything from his barn jacket to his pickup truck.  I especially like the first scene where the barn jacket comes off and he’s wearing the power suit underneath that’s a nice touch.

I also like the oil smear graphics, even though I think they’re prettied than they are effective. Frankly, the only CG that sunk in the first time I watched it was the last one, that he got a 0% from the League on his voting record. It makes me wonder if they even needed the first two CG’s at all.

Here’s what’s interesting about this ad, and who I wanted to write about it: while I like the elements of it, I’m not sure how effective an ad it is overall. Somehow the pieces don’t all add up, not sure whether it’s the tone or the execution, but it feels political rather than organic — like somehow you can see the puppet master, instead of watching the puppets.

Still, I think this is the right approach to take with Brown, go after his man of the people persona, try to take out his strength, and put him on the defensive. If the public sees him as another politician or a Republican (though Massachusetts isn’t as liberal as most people believe), then it takes out the rationale for his candidacy.

It’s a tough position, to be running against Washington, when you’re in Washington. More about that tomorrow.


The sincerest form of flattery

June 1, 2010

Can’t avoid the Halter Lincoln race as much as I would like to.

Does this ad seem familiar to you?

I like these kind of slice of life ads.  The Halter ad is a little too heavy on issues for my taste, but I suppose they got to put it in there.  It feels like it’s trying just a little too hard to be homey.  Compare it to the Brown ad which is more authentic and organic. Still, I think these ads are about likability, and they’re about the kind of person who is supporting the candidate.  And I think the Halter ad succeeds on that front.

Rob Walker in his book, “Buying In,” makes the case that we buy products that reinforce the image we have of ourselves.  So essentially, the places we shop, the foods we eat tell a story about us, a story we want to convey to the world.  I don’t go to Starbucks, I go to Dunkin Donuts — that says something about your identity to the world.  I think it’s true for candidates as well. I remember during the primary a unnamed woman friend of mine agonized who to vote for, Obama or Clinton.  She tried to rationalize her choice of Clinton, but still felt unsatisfied.  After she voted we spoke, I asked who she voted for and she Clinton, but added, “I feel like a traitor to my generation.”  Her identity as a woman was stronger in that moment, but she was conflicted because of what voting for Obama represented — change, being hip, being a true progressive etc, hope.  Clinton was the status quo.  She was so worried about what her vote said about her she swore me to secrecy.  That’s the power of identity, choice and stories.

That’s a lot of weight to thirty seconds.

Ok not so fast

January 22, 2010

In my research for my last post, I came across a Scott Brown ad and a Martha Coakley ad, and I just fel the contrast was too great for me to ignore.

It’s not a matter of the issues they discussed, though I the Brown ad I remember (despite my bias against the Republican) and the Coakley ad, well I have no idea what she said, I had to watch it again to get the point.  A big part of that is connection and emotion. Watch those two ads who do you connect with?  Who is more authentic?

I’m not saying Coakley has to be charismatic or exciting, but she needs to come off as real, like she’s not just reading a script, like she cares at least. But that’s how I feel watching the ad, like she’s just reading a script, like she’s going through the motions.  She may be  great at her job but not so great at reading to camera, then why is she reading to camera?

The great manager of the Baltimore Orioles, Earl Weaver said something like, “Good managers put players in roles they can succeed in.”  Well, a consultant should put their politicians in roles they can look good in, roles in which they can connect with voters.  Brown does that in spades.  I disagree with him, and still find his ad compelling.

I’m not saying national trends don’t matter, or if health care was more popular the result would have been different (for a great analysis read Nate Silver’s breakdown), but what I am saying is that the ads matter.  Watching only two ads it’s clear that Scott Brown connected with voters, that he came across as authentic and real, and Martha Coakley lack those qualities, and that as much as anything is why she lost.

Massachusetts Senate

January 15, 2010

I’ve avoided talking about the Massachusetts senate race mostly because the ads have been pretty boring or at least not very interesting.  This week has been slow, and I’ve been desperately trying to find something to write about, so I resolved to look over the ads in what seems to be a tightening race.

I was surprised to find this one:

It’s short on issues (“someone who’s going to lower your taxes”) and long on character and personality.  Interesting choice given how late in the campaign it is.  Usually you’re hammering your opponent or giving voters a laundry list of reasons to vote for you, of both.

I like this spot, and I think it’s effective, though I’m not working on this race, and I can’t prove it.  If my only exposure to Scott Brown was from this ad, I’d like him, think he’s a local, he seems to get it, he seems like a real person.

When I watch the Martha Coakley ads I don’t get that sense — she feels so polished, like a typical politician.

Watch her most recent positive ad which features Senator Kenndy’s widow:

Other than the emotional value of Vicki Kennedy, the ad is about as flat and dull as can be.

With all the media rushing to make national trends, it’s easy to forget that campaigns matter and the ads you put on the air matter.

If I were looking just at these ads, I’d vote for Scott Brown too.

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