Monday, July 16, 2012

The Singing Politicians (updated)

The rare two-post day.

I just had to put these up - back-to-back - because I was taken by the differences in these ads, and I want you to be able to evaluate them:

***They yanked the Romney ad because they didn't have the rights to Let's Stay Together...  I'll get up a new version as soon as they put one up... and they still don't have one up, but you can watch this PBS clip to see part of the Romney ad (the clip of the Romney ad starts at 2:22):

Here's where the original Romney ad was:

And here's the Obama ad:

The Obama one came first, it went up on YouTube on the 14th, Romney on the 16th.  I put Romney first because I thought maybe it gives that ad a better chance at a positive impression (since I probably naturally favor the Obama ad).

I think the Romney ad moves too fast, has too many words to be read quickly.  And it looks cheap.

I think the Obama ad looks almost too good (the pictures look slick to the point of a travel ad), but the text is very well handled - you can read everything, get a quick impression of multiple news sources, and most importantly, it brings you along.  Of course, it mostly made me want to go on vacation.  But the empty board room, the dilapidated plant - they were powerful.  And the kicker was better and better delivered.

Geez, the Romney ad is longer.  I would have sworn that the Obama ad lasted almost twice as long.

The one thing the Romney campaign does well is the ominous music cue.  Very...

But on the music, generally, Obama sings so much better.  I don't know why - other than a revenge-based symmetry - using Obama's singing would be a good strategy.

With Romney's singing, for one thing, he doesn't sing well.  For another, he is singing a patriotic song, so the juxtaposition with the ad text and images is strong, particularly with the hollow reverb the ad-makers put in.

With Obama's singing, maybe I'm missing something, but unless you are enraged by Obama, generally (in which case, do you really need an ad to make you vote for Romney?), why would the singing be an asset?  Is the implication really that Al Green is one of the "friend" donors?  I'm confused.

What did you think?

P.S. In case you noticed, Romney isn't doing the "I approve this ad" disclaimer.


  1. The Romney ad (anti-Obama) is no longer available, so I don't know.

    But, as effective (on an emotional level, not really on a practical level) as the Obama ad was, do you really think political ads have that much influence? It's hard for me to judge, because I have such a visceral reaction against them and I can't imagine one actually persuading me* (at most, they make me ask lots of lawyerly questions like "evidence, please? What do you mean by those words? what's the background?"), so it is hard to imagine other people being convinced by them. On the other hand, I am currently dispairing over how wealthy one must be to actually win an election these days, and of course TV ads are a big part of that, so they must be effective, right? And if they are effective, not just preaching to the choir, does that mean there are people who flip-flop on a candidate based on the most recent (effective) ad they've seen?

    *There was one ad that enraged me so much I actually voted against the candidate the ad was for; does that count?

  2. Thanks for letting me know about the video, I'll find another source :-)

    You have to tell me about the one ad that swayed your vote!

    But I generally agree that I don't find ads all that persuasive. I suspect, however, that we are not the norm. If you don't do research (which I always feel compelled to do) on candidates, and you don't read the news, then you get your info from TV. So, I suspect that the ads are important when the electorate is as closely divided as we seem to be these days.

  3. The Romney ad was taken down by the campaign for (supposedly) copyright violations, so it is hard to find almost anywhere. I think it was really taken down for ineffectiveness. Like the anti-Obama celebrity ad, it seems to have the opposite effect from what was intended. It helps when your guy can hold a tune.