Posts Tagged ‘teleprompter’

Here’s what a billion dollars gets you these days

May 18, 2010

Jeff Greene is a billionaire, he’s running for US Senate in Florida, and this is his first Senate ads.

He’s an outsider, he’s not a politician.  Get it?

Yeah, right.  I’ve talked about the old rule of film making: Show don’t tell.  It’s a good thing to remember in ad making, anything you can show your audience is more powerful than telling them.

In the ad, Greene talks about politicians about being an outsider, what shows that?  The ad couldn’t be a more generic political ad.  Is there anything about the ad that says Greene is different, other than the voice over?  What evidence do they give that he’s different?  Why should anyone believe he’s different? It can’t be the background which looks like a Palm Beach mansion.

They have him reading from a teleprompter, and he’s doing a bad job at that. When will people learn, don’t make your candidate read from a prompter if they can’t do.  And certainly don’t put it on the air if your candidate stinks.

The more I think about this ad, the more it makes me angry.  Yesterday, I talked about the book, “Starting from Why.”  The Greene campaign could take a tip from that book, the ad spends a lot of time telling us WHAT Greene is and WHAT he’ll do.  They spend zero time telling us WHY — what does he stand for?  Why is he running?  The ad sounds like someone went through a poll and just plucked out the top scoring items, I don’t believe for a second Greene believes in any of these things.  I don’t find the ad or him credible at all.

We interrupt our regularly schedule programing…

April 28, 2010

I was going to post about this ad from Pete Domenici, Jr.

This ad is a prime example of teleprompter gone bad, I swear you can see him squinting to read from the prompter.  The long and the short of it is, if you’re running for governor your ads have to have enough gravitas for the office (especially if you have a famous last name).  Now there are exceptions to that rule, but those exceptions must portray the candidate as viable and be authentic.  This is almost a bad parody of a political ad.

This is the ad that bumped the teleprompter gone bad series:

As tough as it is, I’m going to leave the controversial issue of English only aside.  This is going to sound scary, but I think this is a pretty effective ad.  There’s one too many close up shots of Tim James walking towards the camera, but other than that, I can see this ad connecting with a lot of people.  My old film school teacher Boris used to say, “Guys, close up is mystery.”  Here the close up creates a connection, and I think the mystery is that you can read into Tim James the qualities you want.

I appreciate the close-up only because it indicates that the director made a choice.  It would have been easy (and safer) to shoot this wide, then go close, then wide, standard stuff.  The fact that they stayed close and had James walking tells me that they were thinking about it, as opposed to doing the same old.  I appreciate that kind of thoughtfulness.

I think Tim James himself does a great job of delivering the message. Again, politics aside, he’s believable and tough, but he also he comes across as strong and not an asshole or some hair on fire radical (again, politics aside).  That’s a tough act to accomplish when you’re talking about English only.

I find the ending particularly compelling. While the pause (or “beat”) may be slightly longer than I would have liked, I think it’s effective, “Maybe it’s the businessman in me, but we’ll save money and it makes sense…*beat*… Does it to you?” I think that pause, the line helps to draw the audience in, gives them time to engage with the argument, and makes James seem even more reasonable, he’s asking what I think —  wow he must really care.  The soft ending helps defuse the hard message. If tea party politicians start figuring out how to put a candy coating on their message it could be a real big problem for progressives.

My partner (the Rabin part of Rabin Strasberg) reminded me of the similarly themed Buchanan for President ad “Meatball”:

The ad is similar in that it takes the same inflammatory issue and deal with it in a soft way — in this case humor.  This ad is also a good example of a gimmick that actually works. It’s memorable  and on message. Of course, the argument didn’t take Buchanan very far in 2000, I’m curious how it’ll work for Tim James.

Another Health Care Ad

July 24, 2009

Just yesterday I reviewed a health care ad, and it seems like they’re popping up all over the place now. I dubbed the ad yesterday, “Illness,” the best one I had seen to date (even though I graded it an F).

This one from Health Care for America Now, “Fighter,” is pretty good and a lot more authentic.

It’s simple and clean, and it tells a story. I like that they don’t feel the need to make the woman read to camera. Her voice over might be a little flat but because you can’t see her, I think it works.

It’s still her voice, telling her story, but it’s more compelling using b-roll of her and the neighborhood, instead of her looking straight into camera. Reading into camera is tough for professionals to do and look good, if you’re not experienced with it, it looks awkward and less authentic.

Instead we feel like you know her better, we see her in her environment, and her read works. The ad feels honest and truthful.

I love the line at the end, “fine, I’ll take you both on.” It’s compelling and determined — it’s inspiring. They’ve created a vicarious connection between the woman in the ad and the audience — I feel like a fighter after watching it.

I wish they could have figured out a better end than the typical tell Congressman Cantor, blah, blah. Maybe just come up with the end card sans the “Tell Congressman Cantor” audio.

The goal of the ad is small, to put some pressure on Cantor and whoever else is targeted. But I think it’s pretty darn effective. Good job.


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