What makes a good political ad? High-quality production, a memorable theme, a message that leaves an impact. Some hit the mark right on the spot – and some are just awful. Here’s a collection of the political ads that have resonated with me the most: the five best and five worst.
1. Tim Pawlenty: “A Time for Truth” (2011)
“Together, we’ll change our country. And this time, it’ll be for the better.”
Even as someone who, before Perry got in the race, supported his campaign, I know it’s a little hard to make Tim Pawlenty exciting. And yet, Lucas Baiano works wonders with this video, as with all those he produces. It’s uplifting, succinctly shares the candidate’s story, explains some of his goals, is refreshingly modest, has all the right visuals (even starting off with a Google search to show innovation and modernity), and hits perfectly on your emotions.
2. George W. Bush: “Windsurfing” (2004)
“John Kerry: Whichever way the wind blows.”
Maybe I’m biased because I know Mark McKinnon, but this ad is hilarious. It pushed the flip-flopping message in a new and unique way, complete with comically inflated music, and used Kerry’s own words against him. It may just have been the straw that broke the Kerry camel’s back. (It was parodied rather crudely by the Ted Cruz campaign a few months ago. The fake head, and the fact that it’s not original, make the new version significantly less effective.)
3. Roger Williams: “Donkey Whisperer” (2011)
“These donkeys don’t live in the United States of France, they live in the United States of America (alt: “Amurrica”). They’re gonna have to get with it.”
Perfect. Deadpan humor, the perfect conservative message, and a light – but still acutely relevant – story.
4. Hillary Clinton: “3 a.m. Call” (2008)
“There’s a phone in the White House, and it’s ringing… Who do you want answering the phone?”
Maybe this ad is a little overt with its pathos-y fear appeals and images of children, but it says two things: credibility and experience, which are exactly what people want in a President.
5. Len Britton: “Better Bail Faster, Billy!” (2010)
“Hey, Mister, you’re gonna sink this boat!”
This ad explains economics in terms anyone can understand… even kids and Democrats. ;)
1. Mike Weinstein “Mike Weinstein (Representing District 19)” (2010)
“Mike, Mike, Mike Weinstein! Working hard for you and me!”
This is so bad it’s hilarious. I have no words. (P.S. You may blame me if this is stuck in your head for the rest of your life and/or you begin feeling spontaneous urges to break out into song and dance.)
2. Dan Adler: “Stick Together” (2011)
I’m not the kind to shout “Racist!” at every turn. But this one comes awfully close, with a condescending tone and some of the most in-your-face racial stereotypes I’ve ever seen.
3. Carly Fiorina: “Fiscal Conservative in Name Only” (2011)
“Is he what he tells us, or is he what he’s become over the years: a FCINO?”
Three and a half glorious minutes of melodramatic music, horrible graphics, confusing and unnecessary new acronyms, and a sheep with glowing eyes. The only thing keeping this one down at #3 is that Robert Davi’s voice makes me swoon.
4. Alan Grayson: “When They Lie…” (2010)
“This guy is what it’s all about!”
Yeah, yeah, we know. Republicans are evil. The imagery in this ad is so confusing – after the enraptured pundit finishes fangirling over Grayson, suddenly we’re bombarded with flashes of death and destruction, kids praying, and American flags… I’m not quite sure how those things are related or why they would convince anyone to vote for Grayson. Quite frankly, this ad looks like it was done for a high school project.
5. Dan Quayle: “Barack Obama is the Worst President Ever” (2010)
“Somebody has to go to Washington and knock the hell out of the place.”
If you’re left thinking “What the heck was that?” I think it’s safe to say your ad has failed. (P.S. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t actually running against Barack Obama.)
Christine O’Donnell: “I’m You” (2010)
I’m not sure what to make of this ad. It resonated very, very well with me and some other folks I’ve talked to about it. And yet the media ripped it to shreds. (Personally, I like this version better.) Either way, the “I’m you” at the end gives me chills.
Do you agree with my assessments? Leave me a comment and make my day below!