Posts Tagged ‘tone deaf’

Stop Shouting: Gomez attacks Markey

June 13, 2013

Well this just isn’t working:

I know the intent, but it just isn’t working.

It was done better here:

and here:

With the Lamont & Steele ads the tone is fun and light, the Gomez ad almost feels angry to me. There’s a tone deaf quality here, like they can’t hear what they’re how loud they’re shouting.

On top of that, they cram too many details into the tail end of the ad. Isn’t it enough to say, “Ed Markey is everything that’s wrong with congress…” and leave that as the message?

Beware your friends

April 9, 2013

If you longed for the good old day of negative advertising.

If you’ve said gosh they don’t make ’em like they used to….

Then this negative ad attacking Christine Quinn in the New York Mayor’s race is for you.

Gosh, from the music the effects to the overbearing narrator, this ad felt like it should be running in the 90’s. Negative ads have come a long since then, using more pointed attacks, humor, and just generally not being so overwrought with the negativity. Does the ad have some good points to make, it sure seemed like it. The quotes were all good and tough, but instead of letting the evidence speak for itself, the creators of this ad tried really hard to let you know, these were bad things (as if we couldn’t tell for ourselves).

The problem is that there’s no room for the viewer in an ad like this. They’re telling instead of showing, they’re making statements instead of asking the question. It’s a classic blunder, the first of which is never get in a land war in SE Asia, and the second is never go up against a Scillian with death on the line.

The ultimate question then is this: Does this ad help or hurt? How could it hurt? As an outside group, coming in attacking the only woman in the race, does it seem too mean spirited? Are they injecting important information into the race or are they beating up on Quinn? Again, I don’t question the validaty of their attack, just the tone. The ad is tone deaf. Better to give the quotes straight then ask the question. (Shaking my head).It’s clear the people making it hated Quinn, but it’s too clear, it seems personal, like they want New Yorkers to hate Quinn as much as they do.

To the extent that this ad sticks and the information gets through it’ll be effective. To the extend that it is seen as too negative or just plain mean spirited, it’ll backfire.


Be afraid… be very afraid.

January 23, 2012

I caught this ad yesterday by chance. At first I was intrigued, I thought the concept seemed neat and execution was well done.

That was of course till I got to the end….

You could cue the foghorn sound in my head. Come on now.

Maybe they polled this message before running it, but it seems incredibly tone deaf and off-emotion:

“American creativity and innovation are under attack” (by who China) and “Foreign criminals” (who, terrorists, chinese hackers).  No! the threat is people downloading movies and music illegally, what wait?

It’s big build up for such a… petty payoff. It feels way disingenuous, like a group of big executives came together and schemed, let’s make it about America and American ingenuity, yeah, that’s the ticket.  We’ll scare people into supporting SOPA, they don’t need to understand it (because if they did they’d probably be against it),  they’re easy marks.

Now I’m worked up.

This ad is insulting actually, it’s premise is that you can just scare folks into agreeing with you. To be honest it pisses me off, it’s the worst kind of cynical advertising, and despite the nifty graphics and cool execution it’s garbage.

Whatever the reasoning even if there is a more innocent rationale for the ad, I think it’ll be incredibly ineffective. I just can’t see this ad getting people worked up, it won’t resonate because it so obviously trying to make a mountain out of mole-hill, why should anyone care? Because of “foreign criminals”? Do they really want me to believe that the greatest threat to American innovation is online piracy? How about our industrial age model school systems, maybe we ought to start, huh.

Think of the same basic message, but maybe you have a below the line worker, a grip or gaffer talking about how piracy costs them money out of their pocket (I’ve had that argument made to me before by a gaffer).  That kind of personal connection might work, because it helps to make this big issue of piracy (who’s it really hurting, big movie studios) into something personal (it’s hurting regular guys and gals like Joe Gaffer).

But unless you have Michael Bay up there talking about how he’s leaving the movie business because he can’t make money anymore because of internet piracy…. Ok, even then it probably wouldn’t be believable.

All this hyperbole over online piracy, just misses the mark, either people don’t see it as stealing or if they do, they see themselves as Robin Hoods, fighting the good fight against big corporations. My guess is that the best argument to make is to make it personal (show the victim) or reframe piracy as stealing (which they do in those movie previews) and appeal to people’s better angels.  But this ad makes it all seem like an epic moral struggle of good v. evil, and it’s just not that in most people’s minds, sorry.

The only good news about this ad is the fact that it’s so bad, it’s a good bet that no one will want to illegally download it.


Battleground Massachusetts

November 10, 2011

Came across this ad running against Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts by Crossroads GPS, and while I’m not sure I have a lot to say about it, I wanted to comment on it anyway.

Execution wise, there is nothing particularly interesting about the ad.  What attracted me to it was the message.

Step 1: State the problem — no jobs, ok, I’m with you so far…

Step 2: Attack Elizabeth Warren for not focusing on jobs…, and siding with Occupy Wall Street.

Maybe they have some polling that shows this to be a good strategy.  I’ve said before Massachusetts is more blue collar Democrat than lefty liberal Democrat. But I see reveal problems with the approach:

First Warren isn’t even in elected office, so hitting her on jobs seems problematic at best, and at worse, it raises the issue for Senator Scott Brown, who has just voted against fairly popular job’s bill.

Second, the shots of Occupy Wall Street are so fast, you really don’t see the “drug use” and the attacking police shot, looks like police are attacking the protestors (on top of the stories of police abuse of protestors that have become youtube hits). Again it looks like you’re undermining your own cause there.

Third, the heavy handed language feels like something out of the 60’s not the 10’s. “We need jobs, not intellectual theories and radical protests,” wow, hell I would even agree with that, but what the heck does it mean?  Put another way, who is this add aimed at? To my ear it’s aimed at Tea Party members trying to shore up the base, but I wonder would they ever vote for Warren.

So if the ad is more likely aimed at middle class/blue collar independents, who typically vote Democrat, but swung to Brown last election, then I think it’s mis-calibrated. The language is too harsh and steeped in conservative lexicon (intellectual theories, radical protests, extreme left protests), it’s like their so inside their own bubble, they can’t put themselves inside some else’s head.

I may be wrong, but I think most independents see Occupy Wall Street somewhat favorably, even if they’re unsure about them. This ad leaves no place for them to go, pushing the extreme liberal angle so hard, that I can’t help but feel like folks would reject it out of hand.

If this is the attack they want to make, I think a softer touch would be more effective:  Link Warren to Occupy Wall Street and hint at their extreme nature (maybe mention the name with visuals of the protestors acting up), and let folks fill in the blank.  Maybe the best description of this ad is tone deaf. If this is how Crossroads GPS is going to spend it’s mountain of cash this election season, Democrats can breath a sigh of relief.

[Post-Script] The other problem with this ad it’s way to easy to deflect the attack. In this case, done particularly eloquently by David Donnelly, the director of the watchdog group Campaign Money Watch, “This is an ad by the one percent, for the one percent.”

Also worth a read is Greg Sargent’s post which debunks the truthfulness of the ad and specifically the Schoen Poll cited in the ad.






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