I was trying to find something to write about this week, there are ads out there now, but for the most part, I was looking for something interesting to say or at least something interesting to show. I was going to write about Ned Lamont's new ad, but now I can save that till next week. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMJDGLh7hAQ&feature=player_embedded]
My friend Emily sent me this ad, and asked me what I thought. She said "Would love to know what you think. I don't really know how I feel about it..."
After watching the ad (well, actually it's a web video since it's almost a minute and a half long), I can understand what she means. On one hand I think it's a pretty good negative attack on Specter in a Democratic primary. The people are believable, the music is great, the shooting style is simple but effective. I like the B&W effect, it's interesting. I also appreciate their restraint in the use of CG, which can be so overused (it can be like a bad powerpoint presentation, where the speaker is constantly reading from the slide, that you're reading as well). It's paced really well (which you can do a little easier when you're not locked into :30 or :60 increments), and I especially like the silent opening just being introduced to the people without any signal of what it is about. It gets me curious about what's to come, it engages my attention.
So it's an honest effective swipe at Specter, that goes after the Democratic base. It doesn't feel mean spirited at all, which is in part what makes it so effective.
I think the part that is confusing, and maybe what my friend is reacting to, is the "Dear President Obama...." It feels like a Red Herring. It feels to me, in part, that the President Obama stuff is more a MacGuffin than an actual appeal. It gets you some good earned media (Sestak appeals to Obama, "We want Change" kind of headline), it offers a nice frame to the video, and gives some signal to the kind of folks Sestak is trying to appeal to.
Still the "Dear Mr President" frame also feels out of place, it just doesn't quite work on that front, and I think that's the confusing part. It seems like an unnecessary attack on the President, while trying to embrace what he stands (stood?) for.
I could have titled this post "It's such a fine line between stupid and clever #4 or 5, or whatever number we're at for the title. This spot has so many things I like about it, but I can see how you can be on the fence about it because it is confusing or disorienting in a way.
To answer my friend's question, I really like this video. Despite the odd frame, I think it works, it's very understated, but makes it's point in an authentic way.