Adwatch Returns: ARA Hits McCain for Calling Soc. Sec. a "Disgrace"

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?

Tags: Adwatch, John McCain, Social Security (all tags)



I think you're right on

And I think the Democrats could do a lot worse than to speak to some particularly effective ad people like the ones you mentioned. It doesn't work too well for a positive campaign ad, but it could work for a negative. The one thing those ad people understand is that no matter how annoying something is, if it sticks in your head, it is a success.

by vcalzone 2008-07-22 04:24AM | 0 recs
Re: I think you're right on

I just don't understand how repeating McInsanes own words is to be considered "Negative". We need some real balance here. The Press doesn't seem to feel they need to tell America when he says these things, do they? I'd like to hear mcinsane explain why his own words are negative!

by eddieb 2008-07-22 04:46AM | 0 recs
Come On

I know that we all like to pretend to be good little idealists here, but lets at least accept the common use of the words negative and positive when it comes to ad campaigns; if you are attacking your opponent (or the candidate you want to see lose) it is a negative ad.

I know that sometimes we like to argue that ads like this aren't negative because if we do we can continue to say "I don't like those negative ads that the other side uses," but lets be honest. These are attack ads. They are legitimate attacks but they are attacks and I, for one, love it.

by JDF 2008-07-22 08:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Adwatch

I don't know about you but this add will give Obama my state, Florida. I only wish they would have played "It's a disgrace" a few more times to let it really sink in.

by eddieb 2008-07-22 04:40AM | 0 recs
Repeat with local people in other states

I think that this is effective (particularly the one on the left) because it is so clear that the people who are speaking are authentic local senior citizens.  I think the woman in the red t-shirt (in the ad on the right) is a little over the top, which detracts from the authenticity points.  If older Americans recognize that John McCain is trying to mess with Social Security, they will turn away from him.

I would like to see this ad (or reasonable facsimiles) crafted using local seniors of all ethnicities in Florda, Arizona, California, West Virginia, North Carolina (the aging parts - not Charlotte) and Georgia.  Slick is not necessary and is probably counterproductive.

Finally, I think it is incredibly productive to point out that John McCain collected $23,000 in Social Security last year.  Here is a tag line:  "John McCain, of all people, should not be messing with Social Security"

by Ephus 2008-07-22 04:53AM | 0 recs

Where do these ads play?  Are they on the TV or they web based only?

by gil44 2008-07-22 05:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Where?

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. [emphasis added]

by Jonathan Singer 2008-07-22 05:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Where?

Me fail English? That's unpossible.

by gil44 2008-07-22 06:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Adwatch Returns: ARA Hits McCain for Calling S


Great ads produced by Jennie Blackton!

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-07-22 06:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Adwatch Returns: ARA Hits McCain for Calling S

These ads are NEPA in a nutshell. They really are. I think the woman in the second one is my friend's aunt. If it's an actress, excellent casting.

This is how to get the attention of the partisan Hillary supporters.

Great stuff.

by dannybauder 2008-07-22 07:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Adwatch Returns: ARA Hits McCain for Calling S

Also, as an aside, Matthew Lesko is from Wilkes-Barre.

by dannybauder 2008-07-22 07:26AM | 0 recs
One of 'em should say something like this...

"All those years I worked, I was paying into Social Security so that retirees could get the benefit of the system they had paid into. That's the way the system works. I guess John McCain never knew that."

by Jeany 2008-07-22 08:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Adwatch Returns: ARA Hits McCain for Calling S

I like the ad on the left much more for reasons stated above.

But the clip of McCain calling Soc Sec system a "disgrace" should appear all over the country.  Yeah, John, how CRAZY is it that workers' taxes support today's retired workers?  Why that's social....ah, that's um, social security!  AND IT'S WRONG.  

If you don't make and save enough money while you're pulling in your six figure salary during the working years, TOO DAMN BAD, ya improvident grasshopper.  You should have done like the ants with their 401ks.  Now you can just fuckin' kill yourself and spare your kids the burden of taking care of ya, losers!

Yeah, I'm John (I was smart and married an heiress) McCain and I approved this message!

by Thaddeus 2008-07-22 08:22AM | 0 recs
Love them!

Of course, I am an old lady.  My husband is on SS, I am still working trying to up my benefits a bit more.  

John McCain is a disgrace.  He's been freeloading on his wife and us all since he came back from VietNam.

by bloomingpol 2008-07-22 01:17PM | 0 recs


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