politics

Political Ads: Compare, Contrast

Obama’s appealing to the family folk, making sure to mention he’s a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” story—which is arguably what parents want for their kids, for their offspring to do better than they did. He’s talking about work ethic, etc., seeking the approval of blue-collar voters. This commercial also makes him friendly, nonthreatening. And with that guitar in the background and all the pastoral scenes, this could be subtly directed toward agrarian, rural voters.

From the manly overdub to the orchestral, Hollywood soundtrack, McCain’s commercial seems to be appealing to those Americans seeking a father figure to put in the White House. This ad calls to those who need hope—true or false—who need to believe that mistakes are only temporary, and things will get better soon. The word “believe” appears, as does an image of a younger McCain, reminding us that he hasn’t always been in his 70s.

No wonder Americans vote emotionally, instinctively. That’s where the commercials try to hit you.

Which one wins?