I was going to post about this ad from Pete Domenici, Jr.
This ad is a prime example of teleprompter gone bad, I swear you can see him squinting to read from the prompter. The long and the short of it is, if you're running for governor your ads have to have enough gravitas for the office (especially if you have a famous last name). Now there are exceptions to that rule, but those exceptions must portray the candidate as viable and be authentic. This is almost a bad parody of a political ad.
This is the ad that bumped the teleprompter gone bad series:
As tough as it is, I'm going to leave the controversial issue of English only aside. This is going to sound scary, but I think this is a pretty effective ad. There's one too many close up shots of Tim James walking towards the camera, but other than that, I can see this ad connecting with a lot of people. My old film school teacher Boris used to say, "Guys, close up is mystery." Here the close up creates a connection, and I think the mystery is that you can read into Tim James the qualities you want.
I appreciate the close-up only because it indicates that the director made a choice. It would have been easy (and safer) to shoot this wide, then go close, then wide, standard stuff. The fact that they stayed close and had James walking tells me that they were thinking about it, as opposed to doing the same old. I appreciate that kind of thoughtfulness.
I think Tim James himself does a great job of delivering the message. Again, politics aside, he's believable and tough, but he also he comes across as strong and not an asshole or some hair on fire radical (again, politics aside). That's a tough act to accomplish when you're talking about English only.
I find the ending particularly compelling. While the pause (or "beat") may be slightly longer than I would have liked, I think it's effective, "Maybe it's the businessman in me, but we'll save money and it makes sense...*beat*... Does it to you?" I think that pause, the line helps to draw the audience in, gives them time to engage with the argument, and makes James seem even more reasonable, he's asking what I think -- wow he must really care. The soft ending helps defuse the hard message. If tea party politicians start figuring out how to put a candy coating on their message it could be a real big problem for progressives.
My partner (the Rabin part of Rabin Strasberg) reminded me of the similarly themed Buchanan for President ad "Meatball":
The ad is similar in that it takes the same inflammatory issue and deal with it in a soft way -- in this case humor. This ad is also a good example of a gimmick that actually works. It's memorable and on message. Of course, the argument didn't take Buchanan very far in 2000, I'm curious how it'll work for Tim James.