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Posts Tagged ‘NSPAC’

 

Campaign ads – the best and worst. Part two – political ads

February 12, 2010 | Written by

This is the follow up post to the advocacy ads blog I posted yesterday.

The vast majority of these ads are from the USA and generally from Republicans. Like them or loathe them, they do campaigning very well, especially during the Karl Rove era.

First up however is one of Obama’s ads. He never created “great” ads, but a good deal of his involved just him, speaking directly into camera to the audience. This has the benefit of giving a personal message and engaging directly with the viewer. In this ad, he also personalises the story of his mother’s death and the extra pain of her death due to the insurance system in the US. He then brings that story back to the personal lives of everyday Americans which is vital for a successful visual engagement strategy.

If only he was still showing this ad in the last 6 months.

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This Carly Fiorina ad is bizarre. Nick named the Demon Sheep ad, it has become the object of ridicule but also fascination. It is weird and out there and I guess that is its charm. I don’t think it will work, it’s too long, appeals to a fairly small part of the population (the Tea Party) and most importantly, it doesn’t actually target the candidate that is leading the race. This is an attack ad for a spot of the Republican California Senator ticket. Fiorina attacks Tom Campbell, who is a leading member of Governor Arnie’s Cabinet. They are both losing ground to Republican Chuck De Vore, a State Assemblyman who is know for his ultra conservative stance. No wonder she was rated as one of the US’s top 20 worst ever CEOs.

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George Bush Senior’s attack ad on Michael Dukakis is one of the most infamous ever. Drew Westen describes it as “one of the low points in American electoral history.” Willie Horton was a felon of the worst order and whatever happened for him to be released was clearly a mistake. The ad however has become part of history. Using emotive, almost subliminal written messaging such as Rape, Kidnap, Stab, stuck in the heads of the public. Fear is everywhere in this ad, the frightening statements, the scary mugshot, the fact that you could be the person stabbed, kidnapped and raped under a Dukakis Government. It is enough to frighten anyone. In fact, this ad wasn’t even an “official” Bush Campaign ad. It was made by the Americans for Bush arm of the National Security Political Action Committee (NSPAC).

Willie by the way wasn’t his real name, he went by William, but that’s not as scary either.

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Hilary Clinton’s 3am ad made a big difference during the 2008 primaries and was one of the reasons why she stayed in the race so long. Questioning Obama’s ability and experience, she came up with a pretty powerful and effective ad. It preyed on the fears of parents and grandparents alike. It gave her a good boost in the polls, but let’s face it, the rest is history

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Gough Whitlam was the Australian Labor Prime Minster from 72-75 after 23 years of Liberal-Country Government, mostly under Sir Robert Menzies. This ad may seem a tad naff now, but at the time, the ad and the slogan “It’s Time” was hugely influential. Delightfully simple, the slogan simply pointed at the last quarter of a century under a Conservative Government, similar to the Change slogan used by the Obama campaign. No one over in the UK would realise, but the singers are all Australian celebrities and politicians. Australian’s might notice a young Jack Thompson, Jackie Weaver, Graham Kennedy and Bert Newton singing away. Whitlam however only lasted 3 years before he was controversially sacked by the Governor General Sir William Kerr. Whitlam, on the stairs of Parliament House then made the statement “God Save the Queen, because nothing will save the Governor General.” Thus started the first big push for an Australian Republic.

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Ronald Reagan put this ad out for his re-election campaign in 1984 and it is brilliantly simple. Patriotic, conservative and a vision back to the halcyon days of America. He doesn’t even appear or speak in it, but at the same time he seems both Presidential and grandfatherly.

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Just like his father, Bush Junior wasn’t officially behind this ad, but it was paid for by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. There were plenty of memorable negative ads that hit Kerry hard, but this was particularly effective. Kerry made a big deal out of his Vietnam veteran status saying in a time of war, it was important to have a Commander and Chief who had proper military experience. Kerry won two Purple Hearts and one Silver Star for his heroism, but there were controversial circumstances surrounding this award and this came to the fore in the 2004 Presidential campaign. Kerry also immediately came back to the US post the war and began protesting against it. His initial campaign strategy was to portray him as a war hero, but not long after, these swift boat vets came out and hit Kerry hard. Again, the rest is history

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Cross posted with my personal blog

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