by Matt Stoller, Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 02:22:44 PM EDT
Do Democratic media consultants draw from the same stock music pile? Apparently they do. But first, let's get to the ad.
This one is made by well-known Clinton-allied firm Hudson Media Partners, which is the media arm of the Glover Park Group. Glover Park's Carter Eskew made the Lieberman bear ad, though Eskew no longer works for Lieberman.
Kirsten Gillibrand is running in New York's 20th against frat boy John Sweeney. The ad is pretty good, associating Sweeney with Bush's failures in Iraq and promising change in Iraq if we get change in Washington. Iraq is central to Gillibrand's strategy; she's constantly challenging her opponent on the war. This ad fits in nicely here, though I wish she would mention party affiliation.
There are a few negatives to the ad. For instance, visual and audio cliches about 'our brave troops'. It sort of smacked me of insincerity, boredom, and a lack of creativity around how to express a simple idea through imagery and sound. A moderately pleasing generic candidate talking about the bravery of troops just sort of feels like a political ad. That said, I'm relatively pleased with the spot.
One thing I'm going to try to do with adwatch is to start looking at a comprehensive ad strategy instead of just a one-off ad. That's a very good suggestion that many of you made. So let's do that here. The other ads, which I can't pull down from Gillibrand's web site, are much worse than this spot. They focus on issues rather than character, and are deeply policy-oriented.
This one titled 'back to school', for instance, talks about college tuition deductions, and sounds wonky. This 'disagree' ad discusses big oil and Iraq, but again, there's no narrative flow, and the use of the term 'I respectfully disagree' shows more respect to Bush than the electorate is willing to accord. At no point does Gillibrand mention she's a Democrat, or that Sweeney is a Republican; that's not a huge problem because she includes Bush in the ad, but it's not great in terms of her being able to distinguish herself as different than Sweeney. Finally, I thought it was amusing that the music from both the back to school and the disagree spots is the same music used in this Corzine ad from 2005. The Corzine ad was made by a different big Democratic firm, so there's probably some pot of stock music that is generically pleasant, sort of like being emotionally uplifted by committee, that Democratic consultants like to cut and paste from.
Anyway, Gillibrand's most recent ad is her best one, so that's a positive sign.