Adwatch Returns: ARA Hits McCain for Calling Soc. Sec. a "Disgrace"
by Jonathan Singer, Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 03:51:36 AM EDT
One of the comments to come out of the MyDD caucus at Netroots Nation was that a lot of folks were interested in seeing a comeback of the "Adwatch" series where we offer constructive criticism on ads coming from folks on this side of the aisle. Indeed, it looks like it has been close to a year since I have done one, making it right time to restart the series right as the political advertising season heats up.
For my first installment, I'd like to point to some hyper-local ads being run on targeted cable in Northeastern Pennsylvania by the Alliance for Retired Americans. Take a look:
These ads carry a kind of J.G. Wentworth / Head On / Matthew Lesko / Publishers Clearing House quality to them -- although they don't feel like traditional political ads, and certainly don't have the more expensive production values seen in other ads, they almost stand out because of rather than in spite of this fact.
Perhaps this is the best way to convey the message to older Americans that John McCain's position on Social Security -- that it's a "disgrace" and that it should be partially privatized -- is a dangerous one. At this juncture, older voters are about the only ones to support McCain, so there is a possibility that a traditional national ad campaign wouldn't be able to completely permeate through the noise. But a localized campaign using local voters? The ads just may have the desired effect.
All in all, I don't think it's the greatest ad campaign ever, but it is a little different than the type of stuff we have been seeing this cycle. On the basis of this, as well as the strong message conveyed in the ad and the thoughtful targeting of the campaign, I'll give the ads an initial thumbs up while reserving some judgment to see how the ads actually play on the ground going forward.
What do you think?