Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day! (Which Means It's Finally Over)

A quick note to everyone who stopped by for a little snarky advertising critique.

If you're in the business, get off your butt and make some better ads next time.

If you aren't in the business, you had to deal with some rough advertising this year.

Either way, thanks for dropping by and spending a little time with our fun and vocal community. We'll be back for the off year elections and the beginnings of the presidential push. This ought to be fun.

Now get out there and vote.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Mike Bouchard Gets Some Good Advice

Bringing back his daughter (from one of the most popular spots in the campaign), Mike Bouchard sums it all up in this closer from Scott Howell & Co.

Things have been ugly this cycle, nice to see someone finish with a smile.

Here's "Closer."

Protect Marriage Arizona Did Their Own Commercial

Just because you can make a TV commercial in iMovie doesn't mean you should. Protect Marriage Arizona has thrown everything but the kitchen sink (including an endorsement from Sen. McCain) into this spot and then just left it there.

The shots are trite, the effects just horrible and the message seems a bit less than focused.

At least it's almost election day.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

John Eichelberger Looks Like The Big Time

State Senate race advertising is usually a competition with the local car dealership to see who can produce the most annoying commercial.

John Eichelberger has changed that. It's hard to see what the production values look like, but the message is strong, concepts are good, the edits tight and the guy's not bad on camera. Not bad at all.

Hope he wins. Check out his GOTV closer spot.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Asa Hutchinson Has His Hands Full

Asa Hutchinson finishes strong comparing running the state of Arkansas to wrangling his grandkids.

In a year packed with mean, negative advertising, it's nice to see someone finish with a smile.

Check out "Grandkids."

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Vote Vets Makes My Head Hurt

In their latest spot, VoteVets.org is saying that we are less safe and have more terrorism because we're in Iraq. Which is just the exact opposite of the Republican message.

The way it's presented -- in a simple, evidence-free format -- has the same effect you got in the 5th grade when you said, "I know you are, but what am I?"

View "Because of Iraq."

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Michael Steele Does It Again

I know, I know, this is turning into the Michael Steele advertising blog. But in this spot, the Steele people stick one of Cardin's spots right back in his face...but they do it with style.

Hats off for the music choice.

Bill Ritter Hits The Cute Overload

Cuteness is a dangerous weapon. Used sparingly it can be devastating, but it's tempting to go too far.

We'll give Laugens Hamburger an "A" for trying to do something different, but this one didn't quite get there. And the wrap-up line of "Next year, I'm gonna be GOVERNOR Bill Ritter" is, well, ugh.

Check out "Halloween."

Monday, October 30, 2006

DSCC Ohio Senate: These People Aren't Happy

In the ad, "Happy," the DSCC juxtaposes the children's song "If You're Happy And You Know It" with pictures of Ohioans who are clearly not happy.

Typically, Grunwald Communications is a concept-free zone, but this spot has a nice idea. Graphics are awful.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Claire McCaskill Flirts With Copyright Law

Okay, so the commercial called "94" is just another blah, blah, blah attack ad.

Except for one thing.

The music track is so close to the 60's hit "So Happy Together" that it's spooky. Or changed just barely enough to be legal. What's the point of running that risk for blah, blah, blah attack ad?

Listen for yourself.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Ned Lamont Does A War Ad Without A Picture Of President Bush

Ned Lamont continues to deliver some of the best ads of the cycle. This may be the only Democrat ad that tells the war story in a poignant, emotional way instead of spending 30 seconds showing ugly pictures of the opposing candidate with the President.

He has terrific ads. He also has no chance.

Check out "Why Do We Listen."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Brad Ellsworth Says The Magic Words

In one of the least inspiring spots of the political season, Brad Ellsworth tells us he wants to...wait for it...Move Indiana Forward.

Can we ban that phrase from political advertising? Please? And why is he watching a TV set that's directly behind him? Does he literally have eyes in the back of his head?

Here's the spot from Dixon/Davis. Try to stay awake. I dare you.

Mark Kennedy Tells It Like It Is

In his new ad, "Security," Senate candidate Mark Kennedy admits the war is not going that well. Then tell us you can't negotiate with people who want to kill you.

Our nominee for the straightest straight talk of the cycle.

Women's Voices Women Vote Makes With The Celebrities

Here's a really well done get out the vote spot from the nice folks at Women's Voices Women Vote. Great concept, terrific performances and top notch talent.

But what happened to the graphics at the end.

Check it out here.

Lazy Blogger Enters 21st Century

At long last, we've finally gotten off our collective duffs and come up with an RSS feed. Those of you who are so inclined, click on the link in the right sidebar and RSS feed your hearts out. Or, if you're lazy like us, you can just click here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Harold Ford Gets Made Fun Of

If you haven't seen this spot from the Tennessee Senate Race you've been living under a rock. It's been called everything from tacky to racist.

We think it's funny.

Decide for yourself here.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Asa Hutchinson Proves R's Have A Sense of Humor

In a season bogged down with mean attack ad after mean attack ad, Asa Hutchison and Scott Howell & Co. have come out with...an attack ad. But it looks good and it made us laugh. Is that so wrong?

Check out "Just Like."

RNC Goes For Laughs

Okay, so the Republicans don't have Susan Sarandon or Michael J. Fox, but they do have David Zucker, the guy who did the "Police Squad" movies.

In this web-only spot, Zucker shows us what the world might look like if the Dems win it all.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Claire McCaskill Gets Foxy

In her hammer-and-tongs fight for Missouri Senate, Claire McCaskill's been tapping the Hollywood contingent.

In this spot
, she taps Michael J. Fox to trash her opponent about stem cell research.

Is politics ready for big time celebrity endorsements? Are paid celebrity endorsements right around the corner? Hmmm.

RNC Raised The Stakes

The GOP has certainly stirred it up today with a controversial spot that was clearly inspired by the documentary about radical fundamentalism called "Obsession."

The spot is pretty well done. Props to the ad folks for going with an almost silent soundtrack. Nice work on the graphics, too.

Check out "Stakes."

Michael Steele Hits The Door

On Message and their client Michael Steele delivers another strong performance. All told, this is the cleanest creative campaign in politics this cycle.

Check out "Door."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Yes on 89 and North Woods Pound It Home

Here's an ad we really like. North Woods pushing California's Prop 89.

Something doesn't make sense, though. This ad is well done and required considerable amounts of both time and money. But they're pushing a proposition that promotes public funding of political campaigns.

If the ad works and the thing passes, North Woods isn't going to be getting budgets like this anymore. They'll be running around with a Handycam and reflector card.

Check it out here.

Kerry Healey Gets Creepy

Stevens & Schreifer pulls out the Blair Witch Project filter for their new spot "Garage."

They spend 20 seconds really working to set up the one damning clip. Scary, but good. Well done.

Bob Beauprez Makes A Poop Joke

Gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez and his agency National Media can't resist making a poop joke in his new spot "Smell."

Oh sure, he's in front of red barn wearing the Carhart barn coat that's been issued to every politician West of the Mississippi, but darn it if he doesn't do a good job. It's shot well, too.

And, let's be honest, we're suckers for poop jokes.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Nick Lampson Makes An Effort

Running for Tom Delay's vacated seat against four write-in candidates should be pretty easy. So, hat's off to Nick Lampson for making an effort to do something besides say "I'm not Tom Delay."

Check out "Bullhorn."

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Harold Ford Jr. Gets A Little Funky

Harold Ford Jr. did a very successful, but controversial spot from a church pew. Those wacky cats at the National Republican Senatorial Committee took it and got a little funky with it.

Best soundtrack of the cycle so far. Check out "What Kind."

Jim Pederson Does Something Pretty Decent

We've given Jim Pederson and his media group Struble Eichenbaum a pretty hard time. Usually because they keep doing the same old stuff.

Then, lo and behold, they go and do and make liars out of us by doing something different. And pretty decent, too. It's called "Criminal."

Ned Lamont Is Scary

While the work from North Woods Advertising has been very uneven in this race, the new Ned Lamont spot "Horror" proves that when these guys are on their game their one of the very best.

Are people really all tweaked up about bringing toothpaste on airplanes? I don't know, but the Psycho-inspired spot is a winner.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Move America Forward: Is Airport Security Funny?

In this spot from the folks at the anti-terrorist Move America Forward, regular people are delayed at airport security while obvious terrorists skate past TSA officials.

Hmm. Are they promoting profiling or dissing the TSA? It's one of those case where I know what you mean, but you don't really mean what you say. Do you?

We think they were more on target with their first ad showing Bill Clinton's failures in the war on terror. See it here.

By Request: The Stop DeVos Review

A reader asked if we'd review the Stop DeVos work. This is a little out of our pay grade as we stick to broadcast commercials and the Stop DeVos effort is 100% internet, but what the heck.

Here's the skinny. We wanted to like ad number one. Check it out here. Cool music, good regular-guy voice over and some really decent (if homemade looking at times) production work. The trouble is message.

We shouldn't vote for Dick DeVos because he headed up Amway. Fair enough, but this is hardly a news flash to anyone in Michigan. And comparing Amway to Puppy Stomping, well, that's a bit of a stretch.

On TV you can pound a message home by purchasing a lot of media time and shoving it down people's throats. On the internet you gotta make them come to you.

Debbie Stabenow Seems A Little Stiff

In this latest ad from Scott Howell and Company for client Mike Bouchard, Debbie Stabenow is presented as a life-sized cutout.

Good concept, good acting and nice production.

A bright spot in a cycle filled with dismal work. Check it out here.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

We Are Not Picking On Alfano-Leonardo

Just to prove that we are not, in fact, picking on Alfano-Leonardo, here's a very nice ad they did for Howard Barnett in the Oklahoma Treasurer's race.

So there.

Mike McGavick Is Very Generic

In his newest ad, generically titled "Change," Mike would like you to know he's not like those people in Washington and that he will do something about whatever it is they they are not doing. Or something like that.

He walks, he talks, he rolls up his sleeves and says the exact same thing everyone else says. Even delivers the very generic tagline "Real. Change."

A swing and a miss from Alfano-Leonardo.

Kinky Friedman Is A Ray Of Sunshine

This year's political races have been one side trying to out-negative the other side.

Kinky Friedman has been, well, himself. Which is a good thing. His latest ad, "Cowboy Way" produced by North Woods, stands in stark contrast to the other ads in the Texas Governor's race. That is, it doesn't suck.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Insert Your Candidate Here

Amy Klobuchar's new spot "What Happened," from the Grunwald folks, shows us all how to make a standard issue political ad.
1. Have the candidate make a claim.
2. Show the candidate hard at work behind a desk.
3. Include "candid" moments with "real" people.

Lather, rinse, repeat. This is why the Tivo was invented.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

If We Won't Do It, Rick Perry Will

In his newest ad, Rick Perry, the virtually unchallenged Governor of Texas, stands on the Rio Grande and says that if the federales won't keep illegal immigrants out, he will. Watch "Border" here.

Nicely produced and shot. A far cry from the rather shabby "Proud of Texas" ad he launched with.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Who Says You Can't Teach An Old Message New Tricks

The whole "we need a different kind of Senator" message was first heard in Latin from some upstart in the Roman Forum.

Typically, spots singing this song might as well be in Latin, but Michael Steele delivers the goods in this spot. He's approachable, convincing and warm. OnMessage delivered just enough technique to make it hip and contemporary without making it look like it's trying too hard.

Kweise Mfume Is A Bit Confused

Kweise's very convincing on camera in his new ad "How You Finish" from Trippi and Associates.

Trouble is, he seems a bit confused. If you didn't know any better, you'd think he was running against George Bush for Maryland Senate. A little desperate sounding we think.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Asa Grew Up In The Country

You can't start a political campaign without a bio ad and Asa Hutchinson's campaign follows the rule. The difference here is that this ad tells the Asa story with a little style and and current editorial technique.

View "Life" from Asa and Scott Howell & Company here.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Harold Ford Jr. Can Walk And Talk

There's atheme running through Harold Ford's commercials. It has nothing to do with education or oil or Iraq. It's this: Harold Ford can talk while he walks. This is harder than it looks. A lot of politicians can barely talk. Or walk. Harold can do both. At the same time.

In fact, he's a darn decent actor. And that's his edge.

Check out his walking and talking here. If he wins, his acting ability will deserve a lot of the credit. If he loses, this guy needs an agent.

Monday, September 04, 2006

We're Endorsing Old Relish Packet

The Ad Council, via Atlanta's West Wayne, has produced some of the best political advertising of the season. Basically, a campaign to encourage people to register and vote, the ads are brilliant parodies of political ads promoting candidates like "Old Relish Packet" and "Spoiled Yappy Dog."

Check out the whole set at payattenion.org.

Jim Pederson Is Sorry He's Rich

In his ad "Taxes", produced by Struble Eichenbaum, Jim Pederson apologizes for being successful and getting a break on his taxes.

To make up for it, he's apparently going to feel bad for the us non-rich. Or something like that.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Claire McCaskill Is Good With Maps

If Missouri is a bellwether state this year, Claire McCaskill's media people better get on their horses. "Protect" is the third horribly boring ad that's bending over backward to inoculate the candidate on every issue from nuclear war to bad breath.

In the selected frame, Claire is helping a border patrol officer read a fuzzy map.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones

It's name calling season in the Florida GOP governor primary.

Stevens & Schreifer client, Charlie Crist, calls their opponent Taxing Tom in a quickie cut and paste spot. (Does S&S not employ any graphic people at all? Someone send them a reel, quick!)

Tom Gallagher, through new media team Alfano-Leonardo, have a little fun with bumper stickers. And can someone tell this blog why there appears to be a steam locomotive driving through the first shot?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Randy Graf Wants You To Close Your Door

This spot is notable only because the type is so ridiculous. Although it does distract from the horrible production values in the rest of the spot.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Maria Cantwell Knows How To Sign Things

We've noticed Karl Struble's working looking a bit better this time around, but it's hard for an old dog to remember his new tricks.

In the spot "Sound," Karl and Maria dig up the old "have an assistant bring in a folder with something for the important person to sign" gag.


Ben Cardin Doesn't Want To Offend Anybody

Democrat Senate candidate Ben Cardin and his media consultant Laguens Hamburger, have conveniently packed everything wrong with political advertising into one handy 30-second package.

The copy is meaningless drivel, the camera work is poor, the extras look horrified and the casting is a heavy-handed attempt to simulate some sort of United Nations.

Just awful.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Rick Santorum Makes With The Jokes

Well-known funny man Rick Santorum cracks a few one-liners in two spots from Brabender Cox.

In "Daily Bugle," Rick sits at his breakfast table and laughs off comments made about him in the newspapers. Oddy enough, Rick finds a newspaper that thinks he's too liberal.

Then, for some reason, Rick shows up at a polka party to talk about benefits for seniors. And who can resist a plucky senior telling a sitting United States Senator, "move it or lose it!"

If the Senate gig doesn't work out, Rick can always play the Poconos.

Steve Laffey Has A Depressing Life

We're not sure if the folks at Red Sea want us to vote for Steve Laffey or just feel sorry for him.

Here's the text of the TV spot called "Serious" probably because the title "So Depressing You'll Want To Hang Yourself" wouldn't fit on the slate.

STEVE LAFFEY: Politics should be about solving problems, not serving special interests.

I lost a brother to AIDS. My parents live on Social Security and Medicare, and Dad suffers from Alzheimer's.

(Text on screen: John & Mary Laffey)

Every day career politicians in Washington raid the Social Security trust fund to pay for their pet projects and their special interest deals.

As your senator, I won't stand for it. I'm Steve Laffey. I approve this message because it's time we stood up for what's right.

At Least They're Starting Off Nice

Mark Green -- the Republican Wisconsin Governor candidate -- introduced a cute self-deprecating spot featuring his family ala the opening spot from Mark Kennedy in the Minnesota Senate campaign. The difference here? The spot is framed as a response to his opponent's attack.

This spot it cute, but it's probably the last one in a campaign that's about to get nasty.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Spitzer Knocks One Out Of The Park

Every once in a while someone does a political spot that, well, looks like a really good spot. NY Gov candidate Eliot Spitzer has delivered a very nice spot with an anthem called "Let It Shine."

It doesn't suck.

At all.