I was planning to just look at Rick Perry's new ad today, but then Newt went ahead and released his first spot of the primary season, so it's a twofer Monday here at Ad Nauseum. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiCRW5zGSG4&]
I really liked this ad from Perry which basically takes ownership of his much discussed brain fart. It felt pretty authentic, and I think Perry does a good job delivering the lines. There's not much else to the ad, the issue and positioning stuff is really just filler. I frankly can't remember any of it -- I'll always remember this as Perry's apology ad, even though that's only about half the ad. There's a point to be made here: That you can't cram too much into an ad, basically in :30 people will remember one or two elements. If you want them to remember more, then you can have one overarching theme, and the other elements need to connect to them, but even then, it's the overarching theme that resonates with an audience.
The delivery is smooth, and not too forced, though I wouldn't go so far to say natural. Still, I think Perry comes off as likable, and this ad could only help remind folks why they were so excited about Perry to begin with. My biggest question about the ad is the timing. I think this ad comes too late to really stem the damage from the debate. An ad like this a couple days after the debate mistake or possibly a week afterwards might have muted the criticism, and showed Perry as a likable guy who could good naturally admit mistakes. Coming almost three weeks after the gaffe, I really wonder if audiences have moved on.
In the first 10-15 seconds of Newt's first ad, I thought I was really going to like it. It's exactly the kind of message I think a Republican should be using (talking about American exceptionalism in nostalgic and reverential tones). But after those first 15 seconds, the spot doesn't really go anywhere except to Newt.
I can't quite put my finger on why it's so flat. I really like the images (the Marines marching, the hand on the amber waves of grain, the flags), so I don't think it's the visuals (except the weird cross fade from the Statue of Liberty). I wonder if it's the music which starts as emotional, but never builds or goes anywhere. Much like the spot, the music seems to meander, once it's made it's central point. The spot seems almost tamped down. I wonder if that was a deliberate choice?
Maybe they're trying to play Newt against type, he's known as being fiery, so we'll play him calm and mellow. I'm not sure that really works here, even though I think the message is appealing to voters.
At the end of the day, I think voters will respond to this ad, it's compelling enough, but just so.