Sarah Silverman 2012 – Let my people vote

Sarah Silverman has released her long-awaited follow-up to ‘The Great Schlep’ that received huge acclaim in 2008.  Similarly to her previous effort it takes on an unexpected element of the election narrative, is staunchly pro-Obama and provocatively rude towards the Republican candidate.

The focus for the video is new ‘Voter ID’ laws and whilst funny it lacks the political insight (focusing on elderly, Jewish, Florida-dwelling votes) and (relatively) clean-cut gags that made the original so great.

Nevertheless, the video’s message is convincing – the viewer is left with the impression that Voter ID is unfair and that sense of injustice is the sort of thing that gets supporters out on to the door step.

Not as good as the original, but that was a hard act to follow.  This video has gained millions of views in its first week and has contributed significantly to the narrative of the 2012 election.

Give Lugar a Place to Stay

Republican (and Tea Party) Super Pac FreedomWorks for America have launched a website to try and unseat one of their own – Senator Richard Lugar.  The sitting Republican Senator has been in office in the State of Indiana since 1977.

FreedomWorks for America aggressively support their preferred candidates and are never shy in taking on incumbent Republicans.

Senator Lugar is being attacked for not having lived in Indiana since 1977, when he moved to McLean, Virginia.  According to the SuperPac, when he visits Indiana, he stays at taxpayer-funded hotels.  The US constitution states that Senators must live in the state in which they hold office, so if the accusations are justified, Lugar is breaking the law.

The tongue-in-cheek website invites the population of Indiana to send an email to Senator Lugar offering him a place to stay next time he’s visiting the state, thus saving the tax-payer some cash.  Once you send an email, you’re invited to contribute to the campaign.

It’s a neat little campaign which would have been relatively cheap to put together, but provided that the issue is salient enough, could end up yielding significant contributions.

Hoisted by your own petard

I’ve just come across a great post from a Californian political activist about a very good anti-Whitman advert that ran in the recent mid-term elections:

“One reason I particularly liked it: the ad was a kind of political “deconstruction” of political advertising itself. It pointed out, implicitly, how deceptive political advertising really is. The “sound bites” used and repeated by Whitman were used by her because they had “worked” for Schwarzenegger. These words were supposed to operate like an incantatory spell, and the result of hearing these words, exactly as both Schwarzenegger and Whitman phrased them, was supposed to sway the voters who heard their message.

That technique, using carefully prepared slogans, repeated endlessly, does sway voters (just as it sells consumer goods). Politics has turned into advertising because advertising does “work.” And we all recognize the truth of this. In fact, a good deal of political coverage, nowadays, is about the ads, or about whether the candidates will have enough money to run their ads, and not about either policy or substance. Focus groups and polls tell the advertising professionals what will “motivate” the voters, and these scientifically prepared statements and slogans will then be repeated, and reiterated, and will become, defacto, what the campaign is all about.

Since we “make” the world we most immediately inhabit, basing our actions, largely, upon the words we use to guide us, this kind of political “discourse” will ultimately destroy all opportunity for genuine change. Brown’s ad, in a very real way, was an attempt to “break the spell.”

Two World’s

Ten freakiest political ads from US mid-terms

Adweek have compiled a list of the ten freakiest campaign ads from the US mid-term elections.  I’ve featured most of them on here before, but the ad that grabbed Adweek’s top spot managed to evade me until now.

It was created by a Democratic campaign group with intention of discrediting Republican candidate Meg Whitman’s (former eBay CEO) multimillion-dollar run to become Governor of California.

A cheap attack aimed at withering away wavering supporters.  Not great in my opinion – the narration doesn’t flow easily and the ‘buy it now’ button comment with the visual of the plane wing doesn’t make much sense.  But it’s certainly pretty ‘freaky’.

Negative political advertising – it’s nasty, but it works

Two of adlands most prolific bloggers have today written about the depths that political advertising has plunged to during the mid-term elections.  Polling day is tomorrow and both Seth Godin and  The Ad Contrarian have highlighted how the vast majority of negative political advertising is used to dissuade the undecided electorate from turning out.

The basic logic of running negative ads goes as follows – ‘if they aint gonna vote for us, let’s make sure they don’t vote at all’.  Convincing voters to stay at home sounds like a strange strategy to win an election, but most of the research data shows that it works.

“Since 1960, voting turnouts in mid-term elections are down significantly, and there’s one reason: because of TV advertising. Political TV advertising is designed to do only one thing: suppress the turnout of the opponent’s supporters.”

Seth Godin

“Political advertising has been horrifying for a long time now. But it has reached a level of nastiness and deception that I believe is unprecedented….

…The thing that should be really frightening to us ad people is that nobody studies the effects of their advertising like the political class. They test everything. They are constantly polling to see how their advertising is affecting their numbers.

Unfortunately, we ad people have to face the reality that this horrible advertising and the strategies behind it are alarmingly effective. It’s very sobering.”

Ad Contrarian

They work for us now

This is the best political advert from the Senate elections currently taking place in the USA.

It’s set in 2030 and features a Chinese lecturer teaching his students about why great nations fail; the underlying message is that Democrat spending plans will make the USA a slave to China in the very near future.

The production values are incredibly high, the narrative is clear and concise and the message brings to life a fear that will be prevalent amongst a huge number of swing voters.



I’m not a witch

Christine O’Donnell – a member of the Tea Party movement, who recently ousted the Republican establishments’ preferred candidate in the Delware Senate Republic Primary – has released an advert which opens with the phrase “I’m not a witch”.

The reason being that back in 1999 she took part in an interview in which she revealed that she dabbled in witch-craft as youngster.

Whilst the opening statement is surprising and amusing, the end line which she uses – “I’m You” is incredibly powerful and one which is likely to resonate with the huge numbers of Republicans and wavering voters who feel disenfranchised by Washington.