Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Romney's Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Ad

A couple of thoughts on this web video from the Romney campaign:

1) It is depressing as can be. You don't win the presidency by making people feel worse about things and the future than they already do. In 2008, Obama ads frequently told sad stories about bad things happening to people in the Bush economy. But those images were always juxtaposed with some happier music, hopeful images, and uplifting rhetoric from Obama himself. Here, there is only the kind of music you'd hear in the part of a movie where someone dies, there are bleak images throughout, and Romney and his voice are completely absent. As an advertisement for alcohol consumption, it works great. But it is not a good ad for a presidential candidate.

2) There's a fundamental problem with the message of the ad itself. The ad features several people who have fallen on hard times discussing their struggles and how much hope Obama had given them in 2008. They express their disappointment in Obama. Generally a downer (see #1 above) but whatever, it's a negative ad. However, here's the problem. The message from these individuals cuts against Romney's core message. Romney wants government out of the way - less regulation, lower taxes, less wasteful spending. He wants to "unleash" the private sector to create jobs. But these people are all expressing how Obama is a disappointment because he hasn't done enough to help them. In short, they're unhappy because big government hasn't been big enough. Deborah from Webster City, Iowa complains that her unemployment benefits have run out. Jason Clausen of Mason City, Iowa complains that he lost his job and his house a month after his divorce, which would be February 2009. The implication is that a few days after Obama was sworn in, he couldn't save Jason's job and keep him in his house. And Troy from Alton, Iowa (who digs graves on the side - downer alert!) says Obama is "all talk" and "nothin's gettin' done." The ad ends with Deborah laying out her plan: "So we're just gonna sit tight and see how things go and see if the next president turns it around." In other words, Obama's guilty of not getting government to do more. I don't think that's Romney's message ... is it?

Romney is still not well known to many Americans. He is still branding himself. Unless the brand they're building is about extending unemployment benefits and getting government to step in and prop up the economy, this wasn't the right ad. And since I'm giving out unsolicited advice Mitt, this ad is a major bummer. Digging graves on the side??? I actually find those sad Sarah McLachlan SPCA ads uplifting compared to this.

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