Saturday, June 17, 2006

Campaign Advertising Bloopers

Ferris Wharton isn't the only high-profile candidate for office who is stumbling on his own campaign advertising. His "Beau's Not Ready" radio spots and Website have brought positive attention to Biden's resume and raised question's about whether the state GOP couldn't benefit from some adult supervision.
Joe Lieberman's "bear cub" ad attacking Ned Lamont is inexplicable. (See it here on YouTube.) The ad uses cheesy cartoon footage to portray Lamont as a tool of former Senator Lowell Weicker, whom Lieberman defeated in 1988. This inane production, which features squeaky amateur voices and cheesy images, hardly adds luster to the three term senator's image.
What is most remarkable is that Lieberman is trying to make Weicker an issue in the campaign 18 years later. (Quick quiz: Do you remember who lost the election for senator in Delaware in 1988?)
Josh Marshall offers this review:
It's not even that it's mean. It's just too silly and stupid to believe.
Meanwhile in Montana, Senator Conrad Burns has put out a TV spot questioning the authenticity of Jon Tester's crewcut. I am not making this up. The Great Falls Tribune reports that the National Republican Senatorial Committee aired TV and radio spots on Tester's haircut:
Earlier this week, the NRSC released both a television and radio ad centered on Tester's trademark buzz cut. Both are set in a fictional barbershop and feature the punch line: "Conservative haircut. Liberal values."
Shortly before the primary, Tester's campaign released a commercial titled "Creating a Buzz" that featured Tester's barber, Bill Graves of Riverview Barbershop.
Graves said that Tester is hitting back with yet another commercial, filmed Thursday in his shop.
"I was fairly mad when that (Republican) ad came out," said Graves, 70, who has been a barber for 40 years.
"That guy in the ad isn't a barber. He's an actor and he's never touched Jon Tester's hair," said Graves. He said that he is the only person who has cut Tester's hair in the last 15 years, except for his 22-year-old granddaughter, Megan McKiernan, and a barber in Havre.
But here's the thing that really frosted Graves.
The Republicans' radio ad features the "barber" saying, "didn't leave much of a tip, either." The TV ad goes a step farther: "Didn't leave a tip, either."
However, Tester does tip, said Graves.
"Oh, yeah ...He's very generous," he said.
Jon Tester has made good use of his haircut. His TV spot "Creating a Buzz" pictures him in his barber's chair and taking the measure of other Montanan's buzz cuts. By the end of the 30-second spot we see Montanans flocking to the barber shop, where Tester embellishes the obligatory tagline:
I'm Jon Tester, and I approve this message. I approve the haircut too.
One candidate who is not likely to suffer from an advertising faux pas is Eliot Spitzer, who, the New York Times reports, unknowingly used footage of the Canadian side of Niagara Falls in a television spot:
The opening shot of Eliot Spitzer's latest television advertisement pans across Niagara Falls. The narrator asks: "Remember New York? The New York that all roads led to?"
The ad was meant to evoke the greatness of New York in the past and how Mr. Spitzer could restore that splendor.
But there was one little problem — the falls pictured in the commercial were on the Canadian side.
Spitzer has an overwhelming lead in the race for governor, and this small mistake is hardly likely to hurt him.
Soon enough we will be barraged to the mind-numbing negative ads featuring the unflattering grainy images of opponents and alarmist voice-overs. But until then we can enjoy the spectacle of politicians hell-bent on making themselves look like idiots.


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