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Firm finds five best political ads of a really bad lot

COMMENTARY

October 19, 2012|By James Rainey

Ubiquitous and almost uniformly dull, the year of dispiriting political advertising seems like it just won’t end. It’s not just voters who get tired of what’s turning up on TV.

A firm that tracks campaign ads finds “a painful proportion of them are all the same” — but plucks out five ads that is says are exceptions to the dull norm. That’s five offbeat, attention-grabbing ads that Kantar Media CMAG selected out of more than 6,000 that have aired this year — from local races all the way up to the scrum for the White House.

“These ads stand out because they're unusually creative, personal or authentic,” said an article by Kantar Vice President Elizabeth Wilner for Ad Age.

That doesn’t mean they are particularly uplifting or nice. Just memorable. Among the ads singled out by Wilner:

--Rep. Allen West’s spot, comparing his preparations to deploy to Iraq in 2003 to the activities about that time of his Democratic opponent, who got arrested in a bar brawl. Even Democratic activists who loathed the content of the ad said it helped the Florida GOP lawmaker open up a lead over his opponent, Patrick Murphy.

--South Dakota U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem let her grandmother do the talking to describe the congresswoman’s position on Medicare and President Obama’s healthcare law. The result was a lot more engaging than it might sound.

--Alaska state Sen. Bettye Davis described her recipe for politics by mixing up a pot of gumbo like they do in her native Louisiana.

--U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, the Missouri Democrat, doesn’t want voters in that state to forget how her opponent, Rep. Todd Akin, talked about women’s bodies being able to somehow ward off pregnancy after “legitimate rape.” Her ad features an antiabortion Republican “and rape survivor”  saying that Akin’s backward views and the possible “criminalizing” of abortion had her turning to McCaskill.

--An ad from conservative advocacy group Crossroads GPS went after Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio by mimicking the DirecTV ads—the ones that show consumers falling into dire straits because of their allegiance to cable TV. ("Don't reenact scenes from 'Platoon' with Charlie Sheen.") The spot captures some of the glow of the amusing DirectTV campaign. 

james.rainey@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimesrainey

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