Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ads of the Damned: Tom Barrett, "Jobs for Wisconsin"

I was pretty sure that I was going to hate this ad when I saw how long it was (1:03) and since it was Barrett's first ad out of the box I anticipated it being a smaltzy bio piece that features the wife and kids, old photos of Barrett as a kid, etc. Instead, I got a great example of how effective the use of repetition can be in advertising.

The word "jobs" (note the use of the plural) is said 8 times in the script and appears another seven times in written form on the screen. There are seven shots of Barrett breaking ground, touring factories, stock footage of people working, etc. The ad even uses four news clips when most ads probably would have just settled for three. In this ad's case, it's length actually helps drive home the point because the message never changes during the course of the spot. It's just 63 seconds of jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs...

The message is pretty clear: Barrett's campaign is going to be about jobs.

There aren't any nifty gimmicks or fancy tricks pulled in this spot, but if you asked a focus group who had just seen this ad what it was about in one word, I guarantee you that 90% of the responses would be "jobs" -- and that's exactly the point here.

One last observation: Barrett is surrounded by a large supporting cast in this ad. His campaign clearly wants him to be seen talking with voters and working with people. Scott Walker, on the other hand, has put out four TV spots and thus far has been the only person to show up on camera for all of them. It's an interesting study in contrasts that says a lot about each candidates comfort levels in front of the camera and how messaging is being crafted by each campaign to adapt to the personal strengths of the man in charge.

Final Grade: B+

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