[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mayQs-ipS7g] I'm jet lagged and tired, so maybe I'm not watching this ad with all pistons firing.
In general, I think there are some interesting elements to the ad (mostly the visuals), and some frankly kinda weak elements, that in the end undermine its message.
Much like the "Fighter" ad I reviewed, this ad tells a story that resonates with the larger debate. Go back and watch that one. Which one do you connect to more?
I think it's the earlier "Fighter" ad.
I really like the shots in this ad, the portrait of the owner, the portrait of him holding the picture with his family. (I did something similar in an ad once and the ad got skewered on Jon Stewart for it.) The line, "I pray my kids don't get sick" is a powerful reminder of the dilemma facing too many families, and one that brings us into this man's shoes, if only for a second.
I say only a second because then the ad launches into a policy litany. Again, maybe I'm too tired to really focus, but I can't remember any of the details of it. I do remember suddenly not caring as much as I did just a moment before.
It's a common mistake political ads make, the appeal to reason. Giving the facts, instead of telling the story.
The other element that didn't work in this spot is also something I discussed in the "Fighter" review. Unlike the "Fighter" ad, where they keep the subject reading to camera off camera, she just does the voice over, in this ad they have the subject reading off of a teleprompter to camera. While he's able to deliver most of the lines alright (some are a little stiff), his eyes never move. (Do they blink at all?) It just doesn't feel relaxed or honest.
In addition, I always find it odd when regular people start talking about policy or how much Senator Ben Nelson has gotten from the insurance industry in an ad; it almost never rings true.
Why didn't they just interview the guy? Get real answers, in his real voice? If Errol Morris can get Robert McNamara to say the Vietnam War was a mistake, then I'm not sure why they couldn't interview Mike Snider, get him to talk honestly and openly about health care, and put the facts on the screen as CG?
Or do what they did the "Fighter" ad: just use b-roll of the guy, and not show him talking.
I guess it comes down to this: When the ad is personal, it works, when it's not, it's just noise. Unfortunately, it ends up being about 40 seconds of noise.