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A New Spot for President Obama That You’ve Seen Dozens of Times Before

by admin on October 16, 2012

Here’s the latest commercial output of Team Obama’s targeting factory, a commercial that speaks directly to young, female voters. Its mega weakness is that it uses one of the oldest political clichés in the world: meet the real Mitt Romney. That framing, along with the familiarity of the production technique – the anxious young woman, the ominous-sounding announcer, the conveniently truncated clips of the opponent – all serve to minimize, if not neutralize, the effectiveness of the spot. You’ve seen all these stereotypical elements before before, except not for this particular candidate. By the way, if Romney is out there broadcasting his opposition to contraception and to funding Planned Parenthood – as the clips show – then how could this spot pretend to reveal the “real” Mitt Romney? The other problem with this commercial – and with virtually all of both President Obama’s and Governor Romney’s efforts – is that there is virtually no story arc to these tiny little shards of putative persuasion. This stereotypically negative spot is a one-off, a lurch, a lunge. It’s doesn’t fit with a neat conceptual click into what should be a carefully constructed opposition narrative. What they should have done is connect this to Romney’s so-called “war on women.” What they need is a thematic commercial that speaks to the Supreme Court, to equal pay, and to subjects that every political consultant knows women care about: education, Head Start programs, the environment. This spot is emblematic of why political advertising has become so ineffective, so much aural and video wallpaper. Even if you agree with a message, you don’t want it to condescend to you, or bore you do death. Or both. Both the real Barack Obama and the real Mitt Romney are creatively and imaginatively challenged when it comes to what is one of the most important aspects of their campaigns: communicating with freshness through the popular medium of television.

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