http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KjE7HXAjuk8 Money in politics. It's an important issue, but one that doesn't really get the attention it deserves. It's also one of those issues that if you ask most people they'd agree that money in politics has corrupted our political system. The problem is both the intentisty of their feeling, the vaguenes of what it actually means, and then ultimately, what do you do about the problem (I had a poli sci professor, Professor Cobb who always said politicians never idtentify a problem without telling you the solution).
This ad is funny, and the gimmick at it's core seems to be tightly connected to its central message, but I'd argue the ad is both off-message and off-emotion.
I've been thinking about it a lot today because it does seem to perfectly capture the zeigiest around this issue but it nagged at me. Here's the thing, the image of an elderly man is funny. But targetting politicians is too easy, so while the image of an old man on a pole is unexpected, the message that politicians are stippers or whores isn't so unexpected. Who doesn't think that already?
Emotionally, the ad uses surprise and anger. But again the surprise isn't on-message, and we're already angry at our politicians if Congress' approval rating means anything.
So really what is the ad asking the audience to do? It's not driving us to action nor creating a new link or adding a new thought to our understanding of the influence of money in politics.
Refering back to the Apple signature ad I looked at yesterday, this ad does the exact opposite. Apple focuses on the experience that the features create. This ad focuses on the features (politicians will do anything for money) rather than the experience (how congress sells out the middle class to big corporate interests or whatever they're trying to say).
Most of the time when I criticize gimmicks its because they're only about getting attention and don't connect to the core message. Here the issue is slightly different, the gimmick connects to the core, but I think Represent.us has chosen the wrong core. Maybe it gets Represent.us some attention, so in that sense it could be a useful proposition, but it feels like a wasted opportunity to frame an issue and offer a solution.