Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ads of the Damned: National Republican Congressional Committee, "David Obey: Obama's Spending Architect"

Well, now that David Obey is retiring, this ad is moot -- but in honor of Mount Obey, we'll give it a look anyway.

First of all, some the the bogus political groups running ads against Steve Kagen could learn a lot from the RNCC. The production values in this piece are top notch: the narrator's voice is appropriately foreboding and the editing is slick enough to create the illusion of motion from what are essentially just a series of still pictures. I especially like the background of this frame:
The blueprint background is a great touch. There's something peculiarly devious in being called an "architect," especially given the current housing market. Looking at the blueprints themselves, I'm not sure that they make a whole lot sense, but the impression that Obey is building something big is certainly made. The backdrop also suggests an ostentatious lifestyle, as if Obey's own home is in someway bigger than the average voter's. It's a subtle and clever way of saying he's out of touch.

A little later on we get this image:

Now this is great. The Niagara Falls analogy simply works. I don't know how many people in northern Wisconsin have seen Niagara Falls, but they immediately understand they the name connotes size and water. The visual suggests that Obey, Obama et al. are throwing a ton of money down the world's biggest drain. Good stuff.

Unfortunately, the ad falls apart between these two images when it tries to explain to the viewer what the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee does. It's always a risky move treating your audience like they're idiots. Sometimes it's necessary, but not in this case. The script could have just as easily said "Obama couldn't waste your money without David Obey" or something like that. Instead, it almost sounds like "We interrupt this attack ad for a brief civics lesson."

Hand's down the best thing about this ad: it was specifically made for David Obey. The generic cookie-cutter spots that are designed to be used against multiple candidates irritate the living hell me. I know they're cost effective, but they always seem to lack a personal touch. This spot doesn't suffer from that problem. David Obey's name is dropped four times, his picture also appears four times and the words "David Obey" appear on screen three times. No one's going to walk away from this ad wondering who it was talking about.

Final Grade: B

Previously on Ads of the Damned:

Scott Walker: "Brown Bag"
Russ Feingold: "Forward"
Mark Neumann: "Kicked Off"
Democratic National Committee: "Shots"
Americans for Prosperity: "Tracy Walsh"
American Future Fund: "Pig"
Scott Walker: "Salary"
Terrence Wall: "Rebuild"

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