Sunday, October 31, 2010

AiAA: The Curious Case of the Campaign Advertisement

In just a little over 48 hours, advertisements for male enhancement and light beer will reclaim the radio and television airwaves of America. Soon, across the country, junk mail numbers will infinitesimally dip. Our long national nightmare is almost over, as the end of mid-term election season is right around the corner.

2010 had its usual array of good and bad political ads. And, while I like to have some self-deprecating amusement with my mostly-unused marketing degree, I do remember enough from college to offer some non-partisan opinions on three campaign commercials that caught my eye.

Linda McMahon -- "Lunchbox"

"A lot of people ask me why I'm running for's why: this lunchbox." In this 30-second spot, McMahon uses roughly a quarter of the commercial's run time to set up a nonsensical analogy as a means of explaining her motivation. She spends the remainder of her time explaining the analogy in greater detail, at the expense of any substance. Whoever advised the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment that dehumanizing her potential constituency was a good idea probably had a hand in

Meg Whitman -- "I'm Ready"

"...and a billionaire with no government experience..." In the interest of full disclosure, I probably should mention that I won't be voting for either choice in California's gubernatorial election. According to the phenomenally prescient polling site,,
Whitman's chances on Election Day are slim. She's run a curious campaign with its major flaw exposed in the spot above. Until two weeks ago, Whitman made little effort to "introduce" herself and/or her family to voters. Say what you will about her opponent -- former California Governor Jerry Brown -- but, voters know him. Warts and all. Here, Whitman shoots herself in the foot by acknowledging -- and giving credence to -- her perceived disconnect with the working class and her empty political resume. Whitman should've been running these ads six months ago, so that she could better control the public narrative. Now, it looks like a reach for "sensitive extremism".

Christine O'Donnell -- "I'm You"

O'Donnell released this ad in response to recently-publicized
comments she made on Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect talk show in 1999. I'm no political adviser, but addressing the "witchcraft" controversy head-on was the only way to go. The problem, though, is O'Donnell's staggering lack of comfort in front of the camera. She only spends five seconds on the witch stuff, before artificially injecting some venom into her delivery for the "spending, trading favors..." part. And, what's with the "I'm you" addendum at the end? It comes across as a desperate catchphrase.

Wednesday morning can't get here soon enough.


SHough610 said...

I said for months I wanted to work for both the Blumenthal and McMahon camps. My plan was to work for Blumenthal first and advise him to run a campaign of the crudest WWE segments he could find (including some that involved Linda) and then a list of wrestlers who have died under the McMahon employ. Then I'd cross the street and work for McMahon and have her run a commercial saying that she had no hand in the company's creative direction (and even if she did, do we hold Ah-Nuld accountable for the content of his movies?) but she presided over the WWE going from a regional promotion to multi-billion dollar media empire. Damn lack of experience and ethics prevented me.

The Christine O'Donnell ad was an example of what's wrong with politics. I don't care about her witchcraft anymore than I cared about Obama's college experiences or Bill Clinton's inhaling failure. At around the same moment that the witch news came out it was revealed she might have embezzled money. Nice to see that got attention for 30 seconds.

Aaron C. said...

Agreed. Has anyone cared about witchcraft since the 1600s?

It seems every politician's primary goal is to make voters hate the other guy before trying to be liked. So, when the "witch" stuff comes out, THEN it's time for a soft-focus, 30 second tete-a-tete with the voters.

JPinAZ said...

@ TBG "Has anyone cared about witchcraft since the 1600s?"

Certainly. Right in your own backyard.