Martin Heinrich: Holding Back
Martin Heinrich: "I’m Martin Heinrich, and I’m running for Congress because George Bush and Darren White are wrong on energy, and it’s holding America back. In Congress, I’ll push for an Apollo project to make America energy independent and create good-paying jobs in New Mexico. I’m Martin Heinrich, and I approve this message."
Oil guy: "Yeah, but I don’t."The USA is dragged down by Big Oil, symbolized by a cigar-smoking tycoon in a garden wagon, in its race against other countries. Heinrich solves this problem just in the nick of time. By also tossing in a rather obscure reference to a program that deals with jobs, environment and energy security (Apollo Project), he aims to demonstrate issue competence. Humorous, full of symbolism and a twist on this complex issue.
This one gets off to a perfect, on-message start. But then Heinrich starts talking about the moon explorations that will jumpstart us with future green (cheese?) econo shares. Muted wah-wah-wah trumpet underscores a non-punch line joke in the end. Oh, by the way: garden shears = plants = growth = appropriate tool for snipping of tied-down consumer so he or she can stand in line for rocket trip down south. Heinrich should study and learn from White’s "Just Say No!" 1991 jam-out, also available for your perusal on White’s website.
Darren White: The Mcgrane Family
James McGrane: "I heard the pounding at the door, and I looked through the blinds, and I saw Darren and three deputies. And I knew, I knew exactly what happened. Our son died doing his job."
Rita McGrane: "Jimmy would have laid down his life for anyone, and that’s how Darren White is."
James: "I know Darren White. He loves his officers. His officers love him."
Rita: "Martin Heinrich is despicable."
James: "Martin Heinrich, you should be very ashamed of yourself. You don’t have a clue of what these officers have to do."White’s ad is a response to a Heinrich ad that suggested the wives of state police officers didn’t trust White when he was New Mexico’s public safety commissioner. Through footage of White as Bernalillo County Sheriff attending the funeral of a fallen officer, Jimmy McGrane, it attempts to debunk this message and show White is loyal to his officers, that he is a strong and caring leader. It uses McGrane’s parents to send the message, which adds to the emotion of it.
It seems this other ad got under White’s skin, as White’s response serves no purpose other than to correct an image about White as sheriff—not as a candidate for Congress. White was thrown off-balance. By becoming defensive and countering charges he probably never imagined anyone would toss at him, he wastes valuable time and energy.Werder, communications professor
It’s powerful to see two parents who have lost their son come out so strongly in favor of a candidate. On the surface, it makes Heinrich appear insensitive. Still, it’s possible that the following two assertions are true: White could put his men in danger and care deeply for all of them. It’s also unclear whether White’s camaraderie with his officers would necessarily translate into the sheriff being a good leader in Congress.McCormack, news reporter
Too many Americans are ill-informed about the people who want to represent them in local offices. I am one of those Americans. I know two things about Darren White, and they both come from this ad. The first thing I know about White is that he would lay down his life for anyone. The other thing I know is that if he knocks at your door at three in the morning, he’s bringing bad news.Hendren, filmmaker
White is targeting police officers and their families. Possible subtexts include: White knows everything about being a policeman and nothing else; Heinrich is out of touch with reality; Heinrich kills police officers; and only White can effectively deal with our city’s violence. Confusion is the overarching subtext most people will experience in viewing this ad. Techniques of persuasion include: cause vs. correlation (there is no link made between Heinrich’s experience and the killed police officer), fear (police officers are being killed) and diversion (look at this bad thing that happened—now vote for me!).Media Literacy Project
Steve Pearce: Nuclear
This ad uses both a distortion and a finger-pointing approach. It asserts that somewhere in New Mexico there are groups of far-left environmentalists who are more powerful than New Mexican politicians such as Udall. The complex discussion on nuclear energy and oil is reduced to sound bites, all positive, of course, in favor of the promoted two energy sources. Woven into these arguments are other fears (or hopes) of Americans, such as dependence on foreign oil, jobs and an improved economy to avoid real discussions and facts about these topics.Werder, communications professor
It may not be politically correct, but tremendous strides have been made in dentistry. Pearce may want to chew the fat on the glories of nuclear power and drilling for domestic oil, but all I see is a man nibbling up the political ladder and into my heart. Clearly, this is not just another talking head flapping his gums. What’s up, doc?Hendren, filmmaker
This ad tries to express a sense of the candidate’s style —that he is not going to be tied to “politically correct” positions if such positions aren’t for the good of the country. Overall, the ad would benefit from more specific content about Udall’s positions and where Pearce disagrees.Krebs, political science professor
Smile! Let’s get to work, NM! I’ll put my back into the plow, but just make sure to dangle that nuclear carrot in front of my donkey, err … pachyderm. Udall just won’t admit that nuclear energy is the greenest type there is. The future looks so bright I gotta go watch Woody Allen’s Sleeper for the umpteenth time just to look at the oversized nuclear vegetables. Hallelujah!! Oh, Steve, may I call you Stefan?Woodworth, cinema buff
Pearce is targeting nuclear power supporters, factory workers, farmers, polluters and haters. Possible subtexts include: Nuclear power solves all problems; environmentalists are ruining the American economy; not being politically correct is acceptable when it gets you votes; being politically correct is bringing us down; and the far left is destroying our freedom. Techniques of persuasion include: glittering generalities (virtue words like “free” and “independence”), fear (Middle East oil cartels are controlling the United States) and charisma (he’s firm, bold and not scared to take payoffs from the nuclear power industry).Media Literacy Project
Tom Udall: What’s Right
Tom Udall: "I’m Tom Udall. As attorney general, when I prosecuted corrupt elected officials, it didn’t matter to me that they were in my party. And in Congress I wrote the legislation requiring utilities to use more alternative energy. It didn’t matter to me that the special interests didn’t like it. I approve this message because I think the job of a U.S. Senator is to do what’s right for New Mexico, no matter what."Who is this glorious man scaling the mountains near Magdalena? This Adonis is common folk just like me—all in his jeans and Southwestern gear. Wait! Where’d he go? Oh, there he is. He just has his suit on. He’s gone again! I’m scared. No, he just has his jeans on. I feel safe again. The job of a U.S. senator is to do what’s right for New Mexico, no matter what. Sometimes that means walking atop mountains in jeans. Sometimes that means wearing a suit.
The Udall spot uses positive advertising that focuses on good characteristics, the steady character and personal traits of independence, bipartisanship and care for the people of New Mexico that are said to have been characteristics of his career. Given his lead in the polls, this makes sense, because the leading “brand” usually does not have to compare itself with the followers but must highlight the reasons why it is the leading brand.Werder, communications professor
It’s hard to sum up a candidate’s life, career and ancestry in 60 seconds, but this gives it a go. Still, most voters are probably familiar with Udall, so a "get to know the candidate" spot is unnecessary. Every left-winger who runs for office has to have at least one "tough on crime" reference in a commercial. This ad has a couple, and those should help reassure middle-of-the-road voters that Udall’s not going to coddle criminals.McCormack, news reporter
He’s about as exciting as a bag of nails (only sharper), so this ad relies on the Udall team’s mastery of glowing serif fonts, just in case you forgot that it’s meant to look like a trailer for a Hollywood superhero blockbuster. Hey now, in these times aren’t we all swallowing bitter pills?Woodworth, cinema buff
Udall is targeting people who are afraid of stalkers, drunk drivers and terrorists. Possible subtexts include: counterterrorism and spying are not stalking; drunk drivers are terrorists; and doing what’s right means doing whatever he does. Techniques of persuasion include: cause vs. correlation (Udall’s grandmother drove cattle through the desert so he can herd people into prisons), plain folks (just a small-town boy born and raised in South Detroit, or in his case, New Mexico) and expert (he’s been a congressperson, federal prosecutor and attorney general).Media Literacy Project
John Mccain: The One
Barack Obama: "A nation healed, a world repaired. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for."
Voiceover: “And he has anointed himself, ready to carry the burden of The One. To quote Barack, ‘I have become a symbol of America returning to our best traditions.’ He can do no wrong.”
Interviewer: "Do you have any doubts?"
Interviewer: “Can you see the light?”
Obama: "A light will shine down, from somewhere. It will light upon you. You will experience an epiphany. And you will say to yourself, I have to vote for Barack."
Voiceover: “And the world shall receive his blessings.”
Obama: "This is the moment when the rise of the oceans begins to slow and our planet begins to heal."
Moses (fromThe Ten Commandments ): "Behold his mighty hands."
Voiceover: “Barack Obama may be The One, but is he ready to lead?”They sure got this one backward. Is there something actually wrong with soaring rhetoric? Have they forgotten those thousand points of light? Maybe it’s because McCain’s speaking style is so narcoleptic that they feel they have to portray that as normal. Most importantly, comparing Obama to Charlton Heston’s Moses probably has precisely the opposite effect with the McCain/Palin’s gun-toting conservative base than the campaign intends. Who among them would speak ill of Chuck?
Barack Obama: Still
Barack Obama: "I’m Barack Obama and I approve this message."Being retro is so ’90s. Shame on you, Sen. Obama, for showing McCain amid images of disco balls and the Rubik’s Cube. McCain should be shown amid images of dinosaurs and cavemen holding the patent to the wheel. I, for one, am getting sick of hearing about McCain not knowing how to use a computer or being out of touch with the status of the economy. Let us never forget that McCain is an experienced leader who was there when humans invented fire.
This ad clearly “says boo!” [see below] about McCain. In a slick twist, it connects McCain’s age and technological inabilities with his policy agenda and closeness to President Bush. The retro shots from the ’80s might especially speak to younger tech-savvy generations who are dumbfounded as to why anyone would not understand technology. In those earlier campaign days, the link of McCain’s position to the president’s (“the same”) was made more directly than it is now to serve as a deterrent.Werder, communications professor
Rubik’s Cubes! I really dug watching nine 30-year-olds on "That’s Incredible!" having marathons solving this perplexing piece of plastic. 1982. Obama … in a dorm … sneaking a cool sixer … rotating, twisting the cube. Think pull tabs, Pac-Man. McCain … hopping a giggling grandchild on his knee with aforementioned puzzle in hand … rotating, twisting the cube. Think sweaters, Boggle.Woodworth, cinema buff
Obama is targeting a young, computer-literate, tech-savvy, middle-class demographic. Possible subtexts include: McCain still hasn’t figured out the Rubik’s Cube; Obama is like a new G3 iPhone and McCain is an old PC; Obama’s use of campaign funds is questionable with this low-budget production; and McCain’s inexperience with both e-mail and the economy will lead him to give American funds to a Nigerian prince. Techniques of persuasion include: nostalgia (images and symbols of 1982), new (McCain is old, Obama is new) and cardstacking (McCain doesn’t understand the economy and computers, and, therefore, Obama does).Media Literacy Project
Tricks Of The Trade
If, someway, somehow, you’ve managed to escape these ads, watch them at alibi.com.