Political ads are boring now. I agree with the Studio 360 piece. But looking back at some of the ads on the Living Room Candidate, I find myself completely entertained but often creeped out. Sure, they grab my attention, they clearly leave a positive or negative impression on me regarding a candidate, and the Mad Men of Madison Avenue were creative…but how is a laughing, smoker thinking Agnew is a joke an appropriate reaction to candidate?
It’s to non-PC, and I feel we are currently living in an age of political correctness. At least that’s the era I’ve grown up with – reporters not asking the hard hitting questions to seem bipartisan, or ads on TV fearing creativity as a sign of weakness or frivolity.
I look at the 1976 Carter V. Ford ad, and while entertaining, to my cynical and millennial eyes, it seems like a catchy-joke, a clear propaganda campaign, not something to be taken seriously. It’s begging for the Kool-Aid to be sipped. I mean, Regan’s bear campaign ad from ’84 seems like an SNL spoof to me.
What I love about The Living Room Candidate is how they group the ads: Backfire, Biographical, Children, Commander in Chief, Documentary, Fear, Real People. Of note is which ads have not been used in recent years (children, commander in chief, fear and real people), meaning although ads currently seem fear inducing and always inclusive of “real people” they more often than not are backfire ads, or ads that try to “document” who the candidate is – two categories that inherently seem “defensive” rather than “offensive” and thus more likely to be bland than creative.