During the course of the 2012 US Presidential campaign 474 unique TV ads (215 by Democrats and 259 by Republicans) were aired by the Obama, Romney and their supporters.
On top of these paid-for TV ads, there were hundreds, if not thousands, of online videos, websites, apps, yard signs and more.
I won’t pretend that I’ve come close to seeing every single ad, but I’ve never let lack of information stop me before, so here’s my Top 10 political ads from the US Presidential 2012 campaign.
10. Doing fine?
This is one of the better of Romney’s (many, many) attack ads.
9. Sarah Silverman’s Indecent Proposal
Sarah Silverman has an x-rated offer for Mitt Romney’s most generous supporter, Sheldon Adelson. This was a controversial video, but certainly was amongst the most talked about of the campaign.
8. Mitt Romney Style
With over 17 million views, this is the most viral video of the election. It’s a fantastic production and stands out amongst all Gagnam Style parodies.
7. Revenge or Love of Country?
Another Romney attack ad which caught a nerve amongst voters. Revenge is not seen as the most preferable motivation for going to vote amongst the overwhelming Christian electorate.
As the world prepared for the 2012 Olympic Games, Romney went on an international tour in order to bolster his credentials as a world statesman. What followed was a world wide phenomenon known as #RomneyShambles. This video is a good, but the real winner is the hash tag.
5. Sarah Silverman – let my people vote
This was the long-awaited follow-up to ‘The Great Schlep’ from 2008. Whilst not of the same quality, it is still a very amusing and rousing video.
This ad was the first attack ad to really connect with the American people, to the extent that Obama released an ad directly responding to the claims.
At the start of his campaign Mitt Romney held a behind-closed-doors fundraiser for high rolling supporters. He spoke candidly and passionately about the challenges he feels he faces in opposing Obama for the position of President of the United States. Very unfortunately for Romney’s electoral prospects, there was an undercover reporter in the crowd who video recorded the speech. This ad was released within 24 hours of the video breaking. It might not be the most creative execution, but the speed with which is was brought out and put on air deserves massive credit.
This Obama attack ad features hollow singing combined with empty environments to create an eery and uneasy feeling about Mitt Romney. Making an ad which genuinely makes you feel a bit off about something isn’t easy and Team Obama did it with aplomb in this spot.
1. One Chance
At the start of the campaign Joe Biden explained at the Democratic National Convention what he and his running-mate’s platform for re-election was in a single sentence: “Bin Laden is dead, General Motors is alive”
This spot, featuring the Democrat darling Bill “The Comeback Kid” Clinton, deals with the slightly tricky issue of bragging about killing a man on foreign, supposedly friendly, soil.
It could have been easy to score an own goal with this brief, but the film instead manages to frame Obama as having the characteristics that most Americans want in a leader – a brave, honourable, Decider In Chief.
It’s one of the few spots in this election where viewers are left with a bit of a tingle in the spine. Great work.