Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fred Thompson Had Awesome Sideburns

Apparently Fred Thompson has been in the Senate since the Civil War. At least, he's throwing down some very mid nineteenth century burns.

In the spot called service, Fred lays out a pretty typical service bio complete with a photo of him looking much taller than Chief Justice Roberts.

Here's a look at "Service"

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mitt Romney is a Cliche Machine

The message here is that Mitt Romney works hard to stop illegal immigration.Works hard. Get it. He's really hard at work on this deal. Working hard. Hard. Hard. Hard.

And in case you didn't get the message, they actually show an artistic close up of Mitt ACTUALLY ROLLING UP HIS SLEEVES. Which is, as we all know, the universal sign that hard work is about to begin.

Because Mitt is working really hard.

Here's Mitt's boring immigration spot.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hillary Clinton's Ad Agency Knocks Off Early for the Holidays

After a string of well-produced ads, the Clinton Campaign has issued this bit of art attacking Republicans for attacking her. Basically a half-hearted response to the half-hearted attacks that are coming her way. Her team can do way better.

I'm thinking they farmed this one out to somebody who got iMovie last week. Either that, or somewhere a car dealership didn't get their commercial done this week.

Click here to see what Hillary says about those mean Republicans.

Barack Obama Is Hardly On TV

If you're doing a spot with the candidate talking directly to voters shouldn't, you, oh I don't know, show the candidate talking directly to voters?

In Barack Obama's new spot "Chances I Had", he's hardly in it. Think of it as the "Where's Waldo" of political spots.

Click here to see "Chances I Had."

Barack Obama Makes Our Lawyers Nervous

Ad Geek Alert: The following deals with an ad's most arcane details. If you're the guy who actually reads the legal type this is for you. If not, well, you're probably bored already.

Most political ads end with "I'm Sally Jones and I approved this message." But in his new spot "Conventional" Barack Obama gets unconventional. The ad BEGINS with "I'm Barack Obama, etc." and has type that says the "paid for" line. Then at the end it has type that says "Approved by Barack Obama."

These are the things that make our lawyers crazy. But, hey, for $400 an hour they can afford to go a little crazy.

Here's the rather conventional (except for the legal) "Conventional."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hillary Clinton Returns Phone Calls

Constituent services is a big part of running a successful Senate office. In this spot, a man talks about how Hillary Clinton's office helped him get his son a transplant.

Okay, this idea has been done a million times, but it still works. Hillary's team did a nice job. Very credible guy, good looking film. Nothing tricky, but very sturdy. And I'm sure the dad is a considerably more sympathetic character than the candidate.

Check out "Joe Ward."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mike Huckabee Gets Tough

We're looking to Mike Huckabee for a little spark in the political advertising world and with his first ad, he's delivering.

The ad features Chuck Norris in a take off of the Internet phenomenon "Chuck Norris Facts." It's a fun way to deliver the point that Mike Huckabee is a tough guy who will do the hard jobs.

Now I like Chuck Norris, way back to "Good Guys Wear Black" (the REAL Chuck Norris fans know where I'm coming from), but in this spot Chuck seems stiffer than a Joan Rivers facelift.

Not the greatest script, the acting's a little stiffu, but I like the graphics and, overall, points for Norris and Huckabee on taking a chance.

Check out "Chuck Norris Approved."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fred Thompson Needs A Background Check

No question Fred does a great job to camera, but he might need to look over his shoulder once in a while.

In this spot, there's some crazy kind of stuff going on in the background. What is that woman and the child doing at the bar? Why are children sitting at bars in the first place? And why does she drink coffee so aggressively?

Watch the background in "No Amnesty."

Rudy Giuliani Carries The Water

For months, Giuliani spokespeople have been saying that Rudy is the best carrier of his own message. Are they right?

In a word, yes.

Rudy does a great job of delivering his New York City credentials and trying to make those relevant to a national audience. The cut is not too fancy, but very contemporary which helps separate Rudy visually from the rest of the (extremely dull) Republican pack.

Click here to watch "Tested."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

South Carolina Makes John Edwards Act All Silly

In his new jobs ad for South Carolina, Edwards laments the loss of jobs that left with the mills.

As is the tradition with these kinds of ads, he blames greed and big business, but instead of throwing China and Wal-Mart on the fire like others have, he appears to be blaming Bush.

I know blaming Bush is a strategy that's working these days, but I don't think George Bush has run too many South Carolina mills out of business.

Watch John Edwards succumb to "Good Ol Days Syndrome" here.

John Edwards Will Be A Mean President

In his newest healthcare spot, John Edwards says that if Congress doesn't pass universal health care by summer 2009, he'll take their healthcare away from them.


Hey, at least you know where the guy stands. It may be in unreality land, but he's got two feet firmly on the ground their.

Watch John Edwards' "Healthcare"

Apparently Tom Tancredo Is Still Running

Presidential non-candidate Tom Tancredo is up with an ad largely designed for its shock value.

Disguised as being something that the other candidates are too wussified to say, Tancredo's ad talks about terrorists that are running loose in our country. And, according to this spot, leaving backpacks in shopping malls in a series of poorly shot vignettes.

Click here to see the Tancredo spot.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Chabot and McConnell Get Put In Time Out

The Americans United for Change have a new ad up taking Chabot and McConnell to task for not compromising on the SCHIP bill.

B-roll shots of sweet children, innocent families and doctors cut together with headlines from newspapers. It's 10 pounds of flour in a 5-pound sack. And the candidates they're chastising go by so fast I had to watch it twice to remember who I'm supposed to be mad at.

One neat thing: the AUG has a website link right under the spot that takes you directly to the back up they used. Smart.

Here's the moderately okay, but too cluttered, "What If?"

Friday, November 09, 2007

John McCain And A Big Bag Of Nothing

There's a lot of hub-bub about this new spot from The Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America. It's a nice little standard-issue political spot trashing Pelosi, Reid, et al and praising pro-defense politicians like Lindsey Graham and John McCain.

The ad was produced by Stevens Reed Curchio who worked on the Swift Boat Vets ads, but more importantly, used to be John McCain's agency until he downsized them in the summer.

Basically, McCain isn't a big fan of third party spending so he wants the group to pull their ads. When they get around to it. But he understands that these. Things. Take. Time.

Here's the ad from Secure and Prosperous.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fred Thompson Should Consider Acting

Okay, bad joke. Everyone expected Fred Thompson to be good in front of the camera and in this first official TV spot Fred doesn't disappoint. He comes straight to camera with a folksy charm that really works.

Message-wise he delivers God, pro-life, defense and borders to check off all the necessary conservative boxes. Kudos to the campaign for not getting too tricky and for putting the candidate in a position to do his best work.

A little yellow flag: the 60 second version works great, but when you look at the 30 second version (without the b-roll, no shots of Reagan, fewer credentials) it misses the mark. Can Fred get his story out in 30 seconds? Hmmm.

Check out "Consistent Conservative."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Obama Keeps Detroit Quiet

In his latest Iowa-focused ad, Barack Obama brags about going to Detroit and demanding higher gas mileage standards. He jokes how that comment quieted down the room.

Okay, so what's his Michigan ad going to say? "I went up there and told those farmers we were gonna need some higher corn yields." Be careful what you say, TV spots have a way of slipping across state borders.

Here's the rather unremarkable "Quiet" from the Obama campaign.

Chris Dodd Must Have Really Nice Hair

The latest installment in the Chris Dodd barbershop saga is a spot called "View from the Shop."

It's really a good idea. Two barbers talking. Very down home, approachable, etc. Set looks good, it's shot well, good color correction, casting is well done. But the writing, puh-leeze. George Lucas wrote better dialogue for Jar-Jar Binks. (If you get that reference, you probably need to get out of the house a little more.)

And when they look at each other and say "How about Dodd?" in unison? Well, let's all be glad I didn't have the fish at lunch.

Nice try, but no cigar. Click here to watch "View from the Shop."

John McCain's Done It All Before

John McCain's newest spot "Guts" plays out in a very deep rut of political advertising. "Other candidates say they will [INSERT IMPORTANT ISSUE HERE] but our candidate has already done it."

I know, I know -- McCain has to turn "age" into "experience." In this particular spot he has chose to highlight his efforts against the folks at Boeing, oh well, no one in Seattle is voting for McCain anyway.

A perfectly awful spot. It looks dated, feels ponderous and is completely devoid of McCain's personality which, IMHO, is the campaign's best asset.

The kind of spot you run when either a) you don't know any better, b) you don't want to take a chance or c) well, does it really matter?

Click here for "Guts."

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Delbert Hosemann Has A Funny Name

What do you do if you're a candidate with a funny name that's hard to remember?

You can either spend time trying to get people to remember it or you can jump in and make fun of it, too. Mississippi State Auditor Delbert Hosemann chose the latter by having a little old lady butcher his name for 30 seconds.

A little self-deprecation goes a long way. Click here to watch "Gilbert."

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Hillary Clinton Hates George Bush, Likes Seniors

I think I'm finally figuring out the format for a Hillary Clinton spot: say something bad about George Bush in the first 5 seconds, say Hillary's plan in the next 10, talk about how Hillary's already doing in the next 10, disclaimer in the last 5.

Actually, this is a nice commercial (if a little formulaic) put together by ad guys who know what they're doing. Interesting that Hillary does not carry this message herself, does she not test well with seniors?

Check out Hillary's latest here.

Why Would Al Gore Want This Job?

Here's a spot from draftgore.com urging Al to take a drastic cut in pay to jump into the race.

Why would he want to? He's like Ed Begley in a suit. No one knows what he does but everyone listens to him. It's a great gig. Kind of like this only I didn't get a Nobel.

Here's the ad that's running on a very tiny media buy in New Hampshire. More people will probably see it here.

Click to see "Imagine."

John Edwards Says He's No Hero

Take one speech, mix with b-roll shots of the audience you want to appeal to, add stirring soundtrack (reminiscent of the song "Clocks") and -- voila! -- you have John Edwards' newest spot. Pretty traditional political fare, this time with Edwards putting a stake in the ground for healthcare.

Odd to see this many people shots without any of them being African-Americans.

Love him or hate him, the man can give a speech.

Check out "Heroes" here.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Mitt Romney Lives In A Funhouse

Okay, I've been pretty hard on the Romney campaign's spots. Mostly because their spots have been, on the good days, dull.

But here's a spot called "Our Home" featuring the candidate's wife, Ann. This is the only Romney spot I've seen that made me feel like Mitt was an actual carbon-based humanoid life form.

And how do you not like a spot with a shot of kid sliding down a flight of stairs on a mattress? I may go to the Romney house for vacation.

Click here to see "Our House."

John McCain Gets A Little Trippy

Short of yelling "do not take the brown acid," John McCain takes his message of hope to the Woodstock generation. In this hastily assembled response to Hillary Clinton's request for $1 million to fund a Woodstock museum , McCain casts himself as a long-term cost-cutter. How long term? Check out the Colonnade shot of McCain with Ronald Reagan.

Kudos to campaign for responding on the air so quickly, but the production is just one step above iMovie.

Click here to check out "Woodstock."