Campaign ads I want to see
posted at 8:15 am on August 3, 2012 by Libby Sternberg
I live in a swing state (or so I’m told – Pennsylvania). I’ve been surprised that we’ve not yet been bombarded with campaign ads. Oh, I’ve seen a few, but not the wall-to-wall blasting I’d expected. I want the ads! Bring ’em on! I want to see what each side has to offer. If the Romney side is looking for ideas, here are mine:
- Lots of positive ads defining Mitt Romney—I know there are some out there (I like the Olympics one a lot — so much so that I’m embedding it at the end of this post), but in order for these to be effective, you need to actually buy air time, Team Romney. Here in PA, I’ve seen anti-Romney Bain ads numerous times (on the Food Network — good placement idea), but nary a Romney message at all. The result: the Obama campaign and its allies are defining Romney before he has a chance to define himself. This is bad news and might account for Romney’s polling problems in swing states. Get on the air, Mitt! It is not too early.
- Government didn’t build this…but it sure got in the way: I’d love to see an ad that takes the “you didn’t built that” message one step further, showcasing entrepreneurs who succeeded in spite of government regulation, taxes, etc. Show me the businessman who had to pony up unexpected taxes. Show me the start-up gal who had to hire lawyers to cut through government red tape. Show the American people, in other words, how much capital has to go into fighting government before it can be invested in actual jobs.
- Scandals, scandals, scandals—the conservative blogosphere might be drenched in the Fast and Furious, Solyndra, “enemies list,” and intelligence leaks scandals, but the general public is probably not up to speed on these because, let’s face it, the mainstream media has paid them scant attention. A series of ads on these problems would not just educate the public but also would reinforce the message that this president didn’t deliver on the change he promised. My caution: forgo the ominous background music, mad men. I’m convinced that people now have a Pavlovian reaction against that ad element, tuning out the message when they hear the minor chords and driving rhythms start to snake in. The scandals speak for themselves. Present them factually and calmly, as though you’re doing a series of public service announcements. The material will be devastating enough.
- A well-crafted “amateur leadership” ad: Surely someone will put together an ad (maybe there already is one?) that highlights the number of days since the president’s “jobs council” has met. But that message would be more effective coupled with one reminding people what they already know, deep in their guts – this fellow is an amateur, he doesn’t really know what he’s doing. The problem with just running messages about his lack of job-creation is this: many people probably believe the recession can’t be easily solved by any one leader, and therefore they shrug and think, yeah, he’s not doing much, but who can? They need to be reminded that he’s not doing much because he doesn’t know how.
- Speaking of jobs: Mitt Romney started a series of ads earlier about what he’d do on “Day 1” of his presidency. Where’d they go? Bring them back, Mitt! Do more! He needs to continue that, with very specific ideas. Hammer the Keystone Pipeline issue, talk about Gibson Guitars. Give the American people the sense that there’s nothing to fear but fear itself.
Okay, those are my ideas so far. What are yours? What kinds of ads would you like to see? To inspire you, here’s that Olympics ad I mentioned above. It works on several levels at once. First, it demonstrates that Romney has the skill set to turn a bad situation into a good one. And second, it very shrewdly reminds people that when Romney spoke about the Olympics while in Britain, he actually knew what he was talking about (unlike many in the media who criticized him). I only have one small criticism of the ad–there should be more print on the screen, so that the message works even with the mute button on.
Libby Sternberg is a novelist.