Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Creative Consulting

It isn't often there is a break-through moment in political advertising.
Most of the TV ads have that derivative, I've-seen-this-before feel to them. That's because you have seen them before. The music, the announcers, the graphics, the pacing -- it's all the same work of the same media consultants, who were, in turn, inspired by other media consultants, who were, in turn, inspired by other media consultants, and so on and so forth. There are a few exceptions to this rule -- John Braebender, who is Rick Santorum's media guy -- is one of them.
But, as Fred Allen said, imitation is the sincerest form of television.
So, I have to tip my hat to the Republican National Congressional Committee.
It's recent ad against Lois Murphy takes a unique approach to solving a dilemma that is bedeviling a lot of incumbents facing neophyte opponents this year -- How do you do attack ads against a challenger who has no record? It is tough to get your hooks into them.
(Witness Curt Weldon's early attempt to tag his opponent Joe Sestak as a carpetbagger, which ended up sounding like Weldon was dissing Sestak's daughter, who had brain cancer. Ugh.)

The RNCC, in an ad on behalf of 6th District incumbent Rep. Jim Gerlach, gets past this barrier by leaping over it. It treats Murphy as an incumbent.
In the ad, which went up on cable this weekend, the RNCC accuses Murphy of opposing a bill to provide body armor for American troops in Iraq.
"Hard to believe," the announcer says, as "Source: Vote 669, 12/19/2005" appears on the screen.
You would think from that ad -- and you are meant to think -- that Murphy was in the U.S. House chambers that day, casting that vote. She was not. Murphy has never held public office.
She is running against Gerlach to get into the U.S. House so she can cast votes.
It was a bit much for the Murphy campaign, who complained to Comcast about the ad.
Comcast pulled the ad for "further review." That is TV speak for 'You will never see this ad again." My colleague Todd Mason has the particulars in the case.
One final note: I will bet you, by the time this campaign season is over, what the RNCC will look tame, prim and understated. We are in for a wild ride over the next five weeks.
See my earlier post on this Republican and Democrat congressional committee advertising: Bombs Away

In related news, Carrie Budoff has a a good exegesis on the soft money coming into -- flooding? -- the state, most of it pointed to the Casey-Santorum race.

Postcript added on Friday, Oct. 6: As several commenters have noted I had an attack of dyslexia on the titles of the campaign committees. It is the National Republican Congressional Committee) not the Republican National Congressional Committee.

Postscript 2 added on Friday, Oct. 6: Courtesy of Politics PA a link to the ad in question.


Blogger plshark said...

I know this wasn't really the point of your post, but I'm with you regarding the "sameness" of almost all political ads. The same consultants pushing the same theories about what gets votes. The Democratic and Republican Committees pushing those same consultants on candidates as part of the package with Committee money. It's tiring. It's boring. It's repetitave AND redundant.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are missing the point of the ad. If Lois Murphy says she would have voted against the bill had she been in Congress and the body armor was part of that bill, doesn't it make sense for the NRCC to note which bill they are referring to when they make their statement? They have to cite something, don't they?

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when i worked in politics; this was called pantsing. the NRCC got Pantsed! way to go!

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Johngilb said...

Thank goodness for the "Mute" button on the remote - what a great invention! I recommend it to all TV viewers who don't care to listen to the B.S. being spewed forth in these ads.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RNCC??? Try NRCC. This is sad coming from a major newspaper.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Dr. Lerxst said...

In the 7th were seeing something we havent seen in a LONG time. Curt Weldon on TV trying to appeal to voters by slamming his opponent. The race is competitive for the first time in memory. Weldon's ads also use the absurd, innaccurate, and infantile position of assuming that since a candidate was not for repealing the estate tax, he's FOR tax increases.

I hope the media covers their debate on Friday.

I also notice that Rick "The Haircut" has resorted to a similar procedure implying that Bob casey is for illegal immigration, and higher taxes. And in the "I want ot be like Al Gore" department, his ads claim HE reformed welfare.

12:10 PM  
Blogger Naahm Deplume said...

It's okay that you transposed RNCC for NRCC. You don't know that much about Republicans anyway.

10:16 PM  

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