Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ads of the Damned: Sean Duffy, "Untitled"

We were really looking forward to Sean Duffy's first TV ad given his past in reality TV, but instead of a hand-held tracking shot of a young man through an extravagantly expensive house with weird furniture, we got a standard campaign ad:

The b-roll of Duffy talking to voters is exceptional. He seems energetic, enthusiastic, engaged, even virile (six kids!) ... but then we get to him talking direct to camera and something seems off:
(Thank God nobody knows how high I am right now!)

It's especially disappointing considering Duffy's campaign put out this fine web ad:

This is would have made a great TV ad -- just add an animated bumper to the end of the spot.

The reason why we want to contrast these two pieces largely has to do with the background. In the TV spot Duffy's background is out of focus, but appears to be a very domestic surrounding. I guess this is supposed to help him connect with voters, but it's really too blurry to make heads or tails of it and has the effect of deadening the photography.

The web ad, on the other hand, uses a splendid and vivid pure, white background, the kind that everyone sees in the UPS whiteboard ads and Apple's "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" spots. For whatever optical reason, an all white background just makes people standing in front of it more compelling. It's extremely difficult to keep a viewers attention for 30 seconds, especially when you're talking about something as boring as politics. Mark Neumann couldn't do it, but Duffy does do it in the web piece.

Unfortunately, he doesn't succeed as well in the TV spot.

Final Grade: C+

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