Finally- This!

The Democrats finally have a good ad out:

I laughed.






116 replies
  1. 1
    stuckinred says:

    I can’t wait to hear these bitches whine about how unfair and untrue these kinds of ads are.

  2. 2
    Justin says:

    I like this ad too. But once again, the Democrats are ignoring the issue that most Americans care about. The economy.

    I feel that if the Dems spend the next two years talking about Medicare and Social Security, the Republicans win. It will have been four years of an Obama administration with the primary focus being health-care rather than the high unemployment rate.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  3. 3
    Elia Isquire says:

    yeah i liked it too. d-day didn’t. his post on why it was bad was one of the more FDL things i’ve ever read (i like d-day ftr).

  4. 4
    JCT says:

    The look on the girl’s faces when their “hot fireman” arrived was awesome.

    Hah! The truth hurts you dumbasses who voted for these dishonest maroons.

    And the peals of butthurt whining will be delightful.

  5. 5
    General Stuck says:

    I could set Purl the Parakeet up with some video equipment and a few lessons, hand that noisy bird Ryan’s budget and let him go to town making every sort of ad you could think of. And the little loudmouth works for seed and a millet spray treat now and then. Charlie could supervise, and wag his tail, and I would get filthy rich in the deal.

    And when the wingnuts at some point threaten to outlaw all acts of kindness, it will be time to unleash the hounds of latte on them.

  6. 6
    Xantar says:

    @Justin:

    It’s just one ad. Hopefully there will be others, but right now when Republicans are determined to drive themselves off a cliff, the Democrats would have to be horribly incompetent not to take the gift they are being handed. Actually, scratch that. It’s a miracle that they showed the minimum competence necessary to take this gift and run with it.

    The guy in the ad actually seems like he’d be fun at my parties.

  7. 7
    Guster says:

    I really hate it. You know what moves votes? Fear.

    You know what doesn’t move votes? Chuckles.

    These fuckers are trying to abolish medicare. Hee hee.

  8. 8
    OzoneR says:

    It’s good, which means of course it won’t work…Debbie Halvorson ran a good ad like this last year in Illinois-10 and still lost in a landslide.

  9. 9
    JCT says:

    @Justin: No, the bottom line is if your opponent ties a boat anchor around his neck you kick him off the pier, you don’t untie the rope.

    The Republicans have to own this.

  10. 10
    General Stuck says:

    @Xantar:

    but right now when Republicans are determined to drive themselves off a cliff,

    Yup, the wingnuts picked their hill to die on, right beside the pol grave grandma is digging for them.

  11. 11
    Justin says:

    @xantar

    Totally agree. I just think Democrats are vulnerable when it comes to the economy, and I worry that they are going to continue to ignore the issue.

    But yes, you have to make this ad. And you have to shove it in the Republican’s face.

  12. 12
    OzoneR says:

    @Justin:

    I worry that they are going to continue to ignore the issue.

    When there’s an issue with no solution, I’m not sure how you pay attention to it.

  13. 13
    hildebrand says:

    OT – for a moment of geek tv sadness – Actress Elizabeth Sladen, who played Sarah Jane Smith on Dr. Who, died today at the far too young age of 63.

    Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

  14. 14
    Citizen_X says:

    @Guster: It aids the use of humor when your opponents are a bunch of clowns.

    I mean, come on: are they going to be talking about jobs? Hell no, it’s all AbORSHUNS! and BirF CERTIFIKIT!

  15. 15
    lester freamon says:

    Good that they’re doing these ads, but terrible execution. You don’t scare people with silly stripper jokes, you hit their emotions by depicting the shame and pain of helpless grandmas.

  16. 16
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Guster: If chuckles won, the aqua buddha ad would have been a game changer.

  17. 17
    Woodrow L. Goode, IV says:

    I laughed too. At the people who made the ad. As Dark Helmet says to Lonestar in the movie SPACEBALLS,

    “Now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.”

    The commercial is an epic fail. The wingnut version would be in black and white with scary music. Here’s how pros– this one is Karl Rove’s– do this stuff.

  18. 18
    Cerberus says:

    @Guster:

    Yes, yes, it does.

    Unfortunately it moves it towards Republicans. Whatever one is afraid of, the benefit is more Republican votes. Republicans trade on the great unease, getting people to stop thinking and letting the learned biases and fears of an accumulated lifetime do the rest. “I am scared, uncertain about my future” goes the brain and then the brain fills in the enemies, all the things that are different like women and blacks being all uppity, homos walking around in parades, and no one tipping their hat to you like you were important. Add nostalgia and boom, your average soft conservative or “swing voter”.

    Democratic policies win when people stop being afraid and start thinking. Why exactly do things suck. Who exactly is making my life worse today than yesterday. What policy exactly would do more to improve my life. There’s a reason we have all the actual wonks and thinkers on our side.

    So, yeah, snark can help us, especially as it presents a bit of information that Republicans will be trying to run away from now that they’ve dropped their bomb and we can try and bash it through the fear receptors until people can connect their situations with conservative policies.

    Just making people afraid won’t do that. They’ll just want to make their unease go away and vote for whoever will promise “sunny days are here again” and promises to take care of all the bad people.

    We’re stupid that way.

  19. 19
    Guster says:

    @Citizen_X: You don’t show an old guy dancing for a bunch of hot chicks. That’s not scary. That’s not the problem with abolishing medicare.

    You show an old guy who needs medical care and already used his last voucher. So he sells his house and his daughter sells _her_ house and there still isn’t enough money and he dies.

    Because that’s the Republican plan.

  20. 20
    cathyx says:

    Why can’t old people just die already. Sheesh. What a drain on the country.

  21. 21
    OzoneR says:

    Oh Jeez, we can’t even agree if the attack ads are good enough. Liberals are hopeless.

  22. 22
    Guster says:

    @Cerberus: “Whatever one is afraid of, the benefit is more Republican votes.”

    So if people are afraid that the Republicans will abolish Medicare, as they plan to do, that leads to more votes for Republicans?

    If that’s true, we’re doomed.

  23. 23
    gnomedad says:

    @Guster:

    I really hate it. You know what moves votes? Fear.

    Disagree. This is getting the message out: the Republicans want to kill Medicare. It’s tough to swiftboat humor. We can amp it up later. Also, the snotty 20-something ordering the senior around (“you missed a spot!”) may plant a seed of anxiety and disgust.

  24. 24
    gnomedad says:

    @hildebrand:

    Actress Elizabeth Sladen, who played Sarah Jane Smith on Dr. Who, died today at the far too young age of 63.

    Heard that a little while ago; that really sucks.

  25. 25

    I am loving all the ad critiques coming forth. Because we’ve all watched “Mad Men,” amirite? Perhaps this ad scored well with target audience focus groups? Don’t know – just sayin. I’m sure there’ll be time for teh FEAR to be ramped up in the coming months. You don’t always start with your strong hand in advertising.

  26. 26
    Citizen_X says:

    @Guster: And I say you don’t get people thinking straight by reminding them once again of their ever-present pain and fear in the middle of second-worst recession in history.

    Jeez. You people would have nixed the song FDR used during the depression. “Happy Days are Here Again. Sir? Come on, that’s totally gay!”

    Edit: @OzoneR: Srsly.

  27. 27
    gelfling545 says:

    As a certified old person who has hopes of collecting social security in the not too distant future, I believe that this ad will work well for the target audience which is, after all, the elderly. Believe me – the words voted against medicare are really scary.

  28. 28
    Cerberus says:

    @Cerberus:

    Addendum:

    Why do you think that conservative programming has literally become nothing other than conspiracy theories and two minute hates. It’s about getting people generically frightened because frightened people default to “how they were taught” which is often very conservative and certainly archaic.

    You can see the same reaction when living with someone who was raised in an emotionally abusive household. When they get stressed out, they regress to what they were taught as children. Most people do to one degree or another.

    Conservatism, the language of a 4-year-old having a temper tantrum, needs everyone in that space to thrive.

    Liberalism is always at a disadvantage therefore, because it relies on slow education and getting people to think and learn. People hate to think. People hate to learn new things that make them seem like they were stupid before. People hate having to grow. And often people have very little time to do so anyways and when they do get the time and comfort level, they believe that they are done and so are unwilling to spend such time worrying and improving some more.

    In short, we will always lose the advertising war, given the ad war is about appealing to the lizard brain for short-term success. We just can’t compete with the shallowness of conservatism and have anything remotely liberal left.

  29. 29
    MoZeu says:

    @Guster: I think you’re right, actually. I mean, the ad is great in the sense that – yes, I laughed out loud – it was funny. But funny doesn’t move votes. I think you are right about that.

  30. 30
    trollhattan says:

    Damn, I want the walker-mower. Drink holders on the walker.

    Wicked clever ad.

  31. 31
    Lolis says:

    @Elia Isquire:

    The purpose of these ads is how they play with relatively uninformed people of a certain age. I don’t think D-day is the ads target audience. It is amazing how liberal bloggers don’t think about this. I assume all these ads are tested in multiple focus groups. I think the humor works since there is no active campaign going on now. Most voters don’t want red meat ads. To make a sinister ad would just seem kind of annoying at this point.

  32. 32
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Nick:

    Because if there’s anything that screams hopeful optimism, it’s comments like these:

    It’s good, which means of course it won’t work

    When there’s an issue with no solution, I’m not sure how you pay attention to it.

    Stay gold, Ponyboy.

  33. 33

    Oh, for a Woodie Guthrie for our age.

  34. 34
    cathyx says:

    @trollhattan: What do you think riding mowers are for.

  35. 35
    MoZeu says:

    @Suffern ACE: Yeah. And Demon Sheep too.

  36. 36
    Justin says:

    When there’s an issue with no solution, I’m not sure how you pay attention to it.

    I disagree that there is no solution. You could spend on infrastructure and give the construction industry a much needed boost. Or have Helicopter Ben Bernanke live up to his name, and drop money from the sky on the American people.

    But even if you’re right that there is nothing Obama can do. I’m not sure “Hey, four years later the economy still sucks. But there’s nothing I can do about it.” is a winning campaign slogan.

  37. 37
    Chukwu says:

    OT Humor:

    Lloyd Blankfein walks into a bar and strikes up a conversation with an attractive woman.

    “What do you do for a living?” she asks.

    Blankfein pulls out a can of gasoline, douses her in it, and takes out a cigarette lighter.

    “I sell fire insurance.”

  38. 38
    Cerberus says:

    @Guster:

    Yes.

    You’ll have old people whose care just starts being worse, a TV telling them its the people they already hate for changing everything and everything was better in their days anyways and they’ll tick the sheet for Republican because they are scared and Republicans promise to make it all make sense and be less scary.

    It requires coherent thought to connect, hey, they robbed me of my medicare.

    Of course, the real thing I think you are talking about is anger.

    Anger is not fear, or rather not necessarily fear. People can be angry about specific villains doing specific damage to their specific group identity.

    This is why manufactured villainies by manufactured villains are needed to distract the less obvious targets from voting in their interests.

    I think the medicare thing will backlash not because the old will get scared, but because it will hopefully make them angry. And specifically angry at Republicans or at least the fictional “Tea Party” for attacking them.

    One benefit of anger is that people switch parties very rarely and one of the prime motivators for lifelong authoritarians to do a party switch is something that personally offends or angers them that awakens them to everything else that is evil around them. See John Cole.

  39. 39
    Marmot says:

    @Justin: It’s not either-or, fortunately. This is aimed at the elderly, who care less about the economy and jobs, and more about Medicare. Why it’s been sooooo damn hard for Dems to hit the Repubs with ads like this is beyond me.

    @Cerberus: That’s probably true, but don’t you have a Commander Shepard to re-animate and alien technology to steal?

  40. 40
    Gina says:

    I’m still confused, because wasn’t it just last year that we saw older people protesting health care reform due to their impression that it would gut Medicare? Where are these people now?

  41. 41
    Guster says:

    @Citizen_X: A thirty-second ad isn’t the place to ‘get people thinking straight.’ We liberals love us some education and humor, so we try to use it everywhere. Our job in an attack ad isn’t to amuse or make a pointed comment or elevate the discourse. It’s to make the other guy bleed votes.

    The reason fear works so well for conservatives isn’t _only_ that conservatism is largely fear-based (though I agree that it is). It’s that liberals are afraid to use that extremely powerful tool, because it’s impolite and childish and un-liberal. I’m friggin’ terrified of the current incarnation of the Republican Party because I _am_ educated about it, but I’m not a shithead ‘swing voter’ who can’t tell the difference between the parties from one election to the next.

    The Republicans are not trying to get granddad to mow the lawn or offer strip-o-grams. They _are_ trying to take away his fucking medicare so when he gets sick enough he can’t pay for treatment and DIES.

    Why can’t we just stick with the truth?

  42. 42
    Cerberus says:

    @Cerberus:

    Again with the addendum to self.

    That specific type of anger is often a focusing anger and hate. See gay groups opinions of the religious right, blacks over conservatives, a growing number of hispanics on conservatives, the poor urban on conservatives and “tough on crime” candidates, and so on…

    The hate of being targeted is powerful and I think the rich and powerful are trusting that their open disregard for public law and their domination of the airwaves will protect them from that type of anger.

    Certainly they’ve buttressed against those groups by claiming to be privileged majority groups and that the anger from those groups are really against the privileged groups in general and nursing that into angry fear.

    But now they’re shooting the foot soldiers targeting the middle class and the elderly. These groups are rarely ever directly attacked in the modern sense, especially not so blatantly, so it will be interesting to see if the nursed fear and cognitive dissonance protects conservatism or this will breed the same kind of angry focus that supports growth and education success.

  43. 43
    Guster says:

    @Cerberus: Oh. Okay. Anger, then. Maybe you’re right about that. Probably you are. I’ll have to let the idea simmer …

  44. 44

    @Guster:

    Why can’t we just stick with the truth?

    You think the GOP sticks with the truth? If we’re going to win a messaging war, we have to have some honey with the vinegar (mangled metaphor alert). We have to look *better* than them before wading into their sewer. Do you think the entirety of GHWB’s campaign against Dukakis was the Willie Horton thing? No. There was plenty of flag-waving and apple pie. Reagan was the “morning in America” guy, remember?

  45. 45
    Cacti says:

    This ad is waaaay too light-hearted.

  46. 46
    BOSS BITCH says:

    Folks, there will be radio ads and robocalls. The commercial is FANTASTIC but its not the only way they will be getting the word out.

  47. 47
    Librarian says:

    Nice, but the ad would be even more effective if Dick Durbin and other Democrats weren’t planning to cut SS and Medicare themselves, and thereby giving the GOP cover for what they’re doing.

  48. 48
    Cerberus says:

    @Guster:

    We do.

    What do you think we are for? The ground forces, the liberal people in our neighborhoods, on our blogs, talking to people directly?

    We are the people that educate, that tell the truth and bring notice to things conservatives want buried. We’re the ones who bring people back down to reality, radicalize the moderate, and bring the radical back into the fight. Engagement, education, that is our job, everyday in little ways, even so little as adding to an existing conversation.

    This ad?

    I think it’s a good one, but it’s just one is a suite of tactics. What gets through to people varies. Sometimes (rarely in my opinion) its fear. Sometimes anger, sometimes someone willing to support and work through another’s insecurities, sometimes snark, sometimes pissing off someone to the point that they end up disproving their own position just trying to disprove your initial point.

    It’s why a variety of tactics are necessary.

    My problems with the DNC is that it often thinks that group conformity ala Republicans is the way to defeat the other side and so eliminates most forms of attack (usually anything forthright, aggressively liberal, or which argues in favor of the proud history liberalism has had, i.e. anything with a backbone).

    So I’m just glad that there’s at least something that’s proactive, on the offensive, and which serves to educate the public on something I guarantee the Republicans will try and bury to the best of their ability.

  49. 49
    Guster says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: When the GOP strays from the truth the Dems are funding uncontroversial end-of-life care, they say, ‘The Democrats are trying to kill grannie!”

    When the Dems stray from the truth that the GOP is trying to abolish Medicare, we say, ‘The GOP is trying to make granddad do odd jobs!’

    That’s my party in a nutshell.

  50. 50
    Guster says:

    @Cerberus: We’re for giving money to the DNC or DCCC.

    They could try to seize control of the national conversation with a stark, hard-hitting, terrifying–or infuriating, if you prefer–ad that led to a thousand articles, ‘Are the Republicans really trying to abolish medicare?’ ‘The Dems shouldn’t mislead Americans with claims the GOP is trying to abolish medicare.’ ‘Dem Ad Says Republicans Plan to Kill Medicare; Republicans Disagree.’

    Instead, we get Old Guy and Cute Chicks. It’s a funny and clever ad. Four hours after it airs, it will be forgotten. Having moved exactly zero votes.

  51. 51
    Marmot says:

    @Guster: I doubt Dems would have a lot of luck with the soshulist apocalypse demographic. That crap only works on voters who’re already Reps. Other seniors hear that stuff and worry about whether there’s truth to it.

    They’ll also see this ad and worry about what Reps are doing. And mayyyyybe the lack of screeching Tea Partiers will lend it some more credibility.

    (EDIT: Carp! I have to spell it “soshalist” to avoid moderation? Damn it! Sometimes I want to spell correctly!)

  52. 52
    Cacti says:

    @Guster:

    When the Dems stray from the truth that the GOP is trying to abolish Medicare, we say, ‘The GOP is trying to make granddad do odd jobs!’

    I’m with you.

    “If we end Medicare, sitcom style hijinks will ensue” is a complete turkey of a message.

  53. 53
    artem1s says:

    don’t know. seems like its pitting young against old. It’s not some baggy pants kid who is going to strip granddad of his dignity (and life savings and life). Its going to be a corporate CEO in a designer suit with a fucking Bentley (think Mr. Potter/Dick Cheney).

    it feels way too much like a bad beer commercial about how cool 20 somethings are ’cause they’re not, like, OLD DUDE!

  54. 54
    Tim, Interrupted says:

    Guster is absolutely right. This ad is far too “oh ho ho chuckle chuckle, hee hee.” This is serious shit, and the Dems ought to be in full-on fear and anger mode in their commercials. It’s not as if they would even have to exaggerate to do so.

    You know what the tone of this ad says more loudly than anything? That the sponsor Dems don’t even take the issue seriously. That old people without affordable health care is kind of cute and silly.

    My guess is they don’t want to say or imply anything in a commercial that will cause uncomfortable moments at bipartisan DC cocktail parties.

    For what it’s worth, I spent 25 years in advertising/PR/communications and know whereof I speak.

  55. 55
    OzoneR says:

    @Cerberus:

    So I’m just glad that there’s at least something that’s proactive, on the offensive, and which serves to educate the public on something I guarantee the Republicans will try and bury to the best of their ability.

    Nevermind, apparently even when Democrats fight, we’re going to nitpick on what was said, how it came across, how we felt about it. The left is so full of fail it isn’t even funny anymore

  56. 56
    OzoneR says:

    @Tim, Interrupted:

    That the sponsor Dems don’t even take the issue seriously.

    Because no one takes these issues more seriously than the American people.

  57. 57
    Cerberus says:

    @Guster:

    I would agree there. It’s by no means at all the best possible commercial and in general has a large number of flaws.

    I guess I’ve just greatly reduced expectations and am offering kudos as a sort of encouragement.

    The usual DNC response before was to curl into a ball and hope that the Sunday shows weren’t too mean to them and eventually putting up something that didn’t really address the problem head on, but instead was like “Republicans thought about something something medicare, is this good for our economy”.

    I’m just glad its proactive, puts Republicans on defensive and gets straight to the point that needs to be hammered home.

    Sort of a “the hardest step is the first one”. From here, they have the confidence to polish this message and don’t leave the AARP stranded when the AARP has to do their mailers on how Republicans are trying to kill us by killing Medicare.

  58. 58
    Tim, Interrupted says:

    Nevermind, apparently even when Democrats fight, we’re going to nitpick on what was said, how it came across, how we felt about it. The left is so full of fail it isn’t even funny anymore

    Wait a minute. Are you really saying that no one on “the left” is supposed to evaluate this ad, or if they should dare do so, have the temerity to speak about it unless they do so approvingly? Have you ever heard of critique, analysis, assessment? Well, I know you have, so I can only guess you didn’t think your statement thru.

    Bogus.

  59. 59
    Tim, Interrupted says:

    @OzoneR:

    Because no one takes these issues more seriously than the American people.

    Hmmm..what does this mean?

  60. 60
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    This is not the only ad that is going to come out. This is a way to start people thinking about the issue, to put it in their minds. If you crank up the fear or anger this early, there is a good chance it will burn out by the time the election comes around. Keep people thinking about the issue and let them know who is responsible for it for now.

  61. 61
    Cerberus says:

    @OzoneR:

    Um, we’re liberals.

    I.e. anti-authoritarians.

    We will argue, we will debate, we will try and figure out the best message, we will blanket the globe with a thousand variations.

    It is our weakness, yes, but it is also our strength. People tend towards serf-like behavior. People tend towards “what they are used to”, the status quo, comforting lies.

    The hard work of education, motivation, mobilization, and all the various hard activities that get one from oppression to improvement to victory to defense of victory requires the flexibility, creativity, and desire to improve, tinker, and yes, fracture and split that are the spirit of the left.

    Many voices versus the solitary voice of conformity.

    I wouldn’t take dissent here as evidence as collapse. The people who diss this ad aren’t going to take their ball and go home, they’ll learn from this and use a different method when they talk to their older family members and friends, when they work for the public rights groups who invent their own ads or help groups like AARP do their mailers, when they create their websites to remind everyone what the Republicans voted for.

    Attempting to clamp it down won’t help.

    So in the immortal words of Sir Doug Adams, “Don’t worry”.

  62. 62
    ruemara says:

    @hildebrand:

    I nearly cried when I learned the news. It’s like a dear auntie died, because she and Tom Baker were my fave Dr Who team.

  63. 63
    Roger Moore says:

    @Justin:
    Of course the Democrats are ignoring the economy. Right now, people tend to blame them for the bad state of the economy, rather than praise them for working to improve it. Talking about things that are A) unpopular and B) can be unambiguously pinned on the Republicans is a much better strategy.

  64. 64
    Lyrebird says:

    FWIW I think this ad will be a *win* because it treats elderly people (ahem, the most dedicated voters last I heard) as *people* with a sense of humor and with legitimate concerns. May get some of that (forget the term) free media play, too, for the beer-commercial qualities.

    Plus, what @Cerberus said:

    So I’m just glad that there’s at least something that’s proactive, on the offensive, and which serves to educate the public on something I guarantee the Republicans will try and bury to the best of their ability.

    I’m a non-TV-watching rare consumer, but I figure if I usually glaze over when I see one of those ads that is entirely Serious Voiceover by Educated Person… well, I’m an overly-serious over-educated person, and most people don’t listen to me, either!

    Go humor!

  65. 65
    OzoneR says:

    @Tim, Interrupted:

    Wait a minute. Are you really saying that no one on “the left” is supposed to evaluate this ad, or if they should dare do so, have the temerity to speak about it unless they do so approvingly?

    maybe we should see if it’s effective first and then evaluate it. Perhaps if we get behind a message instead of mocking it because of its word content or inflection, we can actually reach people. I mean, honestly the DCCC has had more luck reaching the public than bloggers.

    Hmmm..what does this mean?

    It means this country pays more attention to Snooki than it does to political issues and pretending like they care to sit down and discuss the pros and cons of Medicare reform is over their heads. Hit them with a short, memorable message…like the Republicans do.

    Republican will make your grandpa do degrading things for his pills! BOOM!

  66. 66
    OzoneR says:

    @Cerberus:

    they’ll learn from this and use a different method when they talk to their older family members and friend

    different methods of reaching people, and we all complain Dems have no message discipline.

  67. 67
    Cerberus says:

    @OzoneR:

    I don’t.

    I see lack of “message discipline” as a good thing, because “message discipline” tends to be the euphemism for “lie on cue”. I often ding Democrats for attempting to enforce message discipline (usually defined by its most conservative members) because of a belief that all people are put off from liberalism.

    The numbers seem to suggest that as a society, we are remarkably liberal when we understand the issue and are provided with all information. The numbers also suggest that the privileged white middle and working class male demographic everyone chases as the “swing voter” tends to vote strength rather than ideology.

    It’s more “manly” to vote for brash but wrong than wimpy and right.

    However, being brash and liberal means that the money comes down like a ton of bricks thus getting people to go wimpy and more wrong to “protect themselves” from being made the sacrificial lambs like Alan Grayson.

    Overall, it would be easier to stomach the conservadems if the party wasn’t acting like avoiding offending them and only them was the only order of business and everyone more liberal must shut up and follow suit so we’ll look more “disciplined”.

  68. 68
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    It’s a year and a half before anybody goes to the polls. It’s not like there are any votes out there to move yet. I’d like to see more angry stuff in the future, closer to election day, but I think this is a good starting point. People would just tune out 18 straight months of anger and invective. It would become background noise.

  69. 69
    ruemara says:

    As a veteran of-goddess-23 years in advertising and communications, I’m not sure what the bitching is about. The message is concise, the images are memorable. No, it’s not the fear card, but it will appeal to younger voters and be shared. The older voters will watch it because it features older people and it will be talked about. It leads a conversation and reaches out to those fickle, mindless (cheap shot) independent voters, not the ones who rush out to vote for fear on the Republican ticket. The ones that came out in 2010 would not believe a damn thing any Democratic Party organization said anyway. You can always do fear, but right now, you have to get noticed and talked about, I think this does just that without looking overdramatic.

  70. 70
    OzoneR says:

    @Cerberus:

    it would be easier to stomach the conservadems if the party wasn’t acting like avoiding offending them and only them was the only order of business and everyone more liberal must shut up and follow suit so we’ll look more “disciplined”

    but…isn’t that what we want to do to them?

  71. 71
    MikeJ says:

    So an ad that explicitly attacks republicans is somehow actually coded hippie punching? If that’s what hippies think, they really should be punched.

  72. 72
    Elia Isquire says:

    @Lolis: yeah i agree. i wrote about this, actually, and it’ll run on the site tomorra but basically i think that this early out a light touch works — people dont want to feel assaulted and even tho it’s humorous the main things your brain takes from it: OLD PEOPLE DESERVE TO BE TREATED WITH DIGNITY comes through.

  73. 73
    wasabi gasp says:

    That ad sucked, but I’d rather go there than Six Flags.

  74. 74
    karen marie says:

    @Guster: For me, the ad fails especially because of the old guy dancing for enthusiastic “hot chicks” at the end.

    The old guy pushing the lawnmower with his walker was both funny and horrifyingly pathetic — people approaching retirement can definitely identify with both aspects, but the lemonade stand but especially the ancient stripper were just ridiculous and don’t convey the seriousness of the situation.

    Take the joke too far, people don’t realize how very serious their choice is, and that’s what happens with the ad. It doesn’t just distract from the issue, it trivializes it.

    Bad ad.

  75. 75
    jibeaux says:

    I like the ad. The message doesn’t have to be 100% death, it gets the point across.

    I would also like to see one that’s sort of a like a PSA: Legislation and Purple Drank don’t mix. But I’m not holding my breath for that.

  76. 76
    karen marie says:

    @OzoneR: I would rather be a “hopeless liberal” than a sheep in a cheer-leading squad.

    You can’t know if your belief system is accurate if you never test it. Hearing differing opinions is an important part of that.

    @Bob Loblaw: What’s the matter? He’s not clapping loudly enough for you? Geez.

  77. 77
    tkogrumpy says:

    @General Stuck: I don’t know why, but I like this guy.

  78. 78
    karen marie says:

    @Librarian: Thank you.

  79. 79
    tkogrumpy says:

    @cathyx: Riding mowers are for people with discretionary income, obviously not our gramp in the ad.

  80. 80
    RadioOne says:

    I think it should be pretty clear that this is a web ad hoping to go viral and it’s message is targeted at younger voters. The message of the ad is “if we end Medicare, then YOU are going to have to pay for your parents and grandparents health care costs when they retire.”

    If this was a major television ad buy to put this ad on the air indiscriminately, then I agree with those of you that say it’s a bad ad. But both political parties are pretty good at targeting their ads to the exact demo audience they want to. They’re been doing this for a long time.

  81. 81
    Butler says:

    The message of the ad is “if we end Medicare, then YOU are going to have to pay for your parents and grandparents health care costs when they retire.”

    If that’s really the message, then it missed this younger voter completely.

  82. 82
    Butler says:

    This ad would have worked until the final scene. It turned what is a funny but serious message into a lame scene from a bad rom-com. Totally dilutes the message.

    Some production notes: Why is the text so small? It should be in giant letters: “REPUBLICANS VOTED TO END MEDICARE”. As it is I could barely read it, and my eyes are 20/20. So much wasted space in those frames, don’t bury the message!

    Also, why does the average age of the bachelorette party look to be about 15? That’s just weird.

  83. 83
    hamletta says:

    Wow!

    I hope you all can come to my next party! You’re a barrel of laughs!

  84. 84
    Libby says:

    Glad to see the Dems pushback but I found it sort of lame. Beginning was good but don’t get the point of the stripper thing at the end. Old guy so devastated by medical costs he’s *forced* to party with very young girls? Found it more weird than funny. Also the production values weren’t that great.

    But hoping they’ll keep trying and do better on the next one.

  85. 85
    Mnemosyne says:

    @OzoneR:

    maybe we should see if it’s effective first and then evaluate it. Perhaps if we get behind a message instead of mocking it because of its word content or inflection, we can actually reach people.

    Pfft, that’s just crazy talk. If we don’t run the ad down before most people see it, how will they know it’s stupid and lame and they shouldn’t pay any attention to it when they do see it?

    Also, too, I liked this band better before they sold out.

  86. 86
    Woodrow L. Goode, IV says:

    @OzoneR:

    maybe we should see if it’s effective first and then evaluate it. Perhaps if we get behind a message instead of mocking it because of its word content or inflection, we can actually reach people.

    I have a better idea: Why don’t we look at the last 60 years of political ads and see if we can identify an ad that looked like this, sounded like this and got the job done.

    Here’s a challenge for all the dimwits who think this ad is really good and will work: Point to one successful political ad similar to this. I’ll even give you a link to a site where you can hunt for examples.

    Here’s a hint: There aren’t any. Not by campaigns that won. But I can show you hundreds of these spots that were made by wimpy, asshat Dems who got stomped, partly because they felt more comfortable being cute than getting down in the mud– that people would laugh and then magically vote for them. (My favorite would be “Landslide Lee” Fisher’s “Taft-quack” spots).

    Folks, there’s a reason wingnuts run scary commercials: They work. That’s why they’ve won so many elections in tn the last 20 years. There’s two types of humor that work in these spots: sarcasm and scorn.

    And for the people who say “But they’re going to do calls and mailings”, Coordination doesn’t work unless the message is the same. If you do commercials that only work if you call and write, then you’ve wasted your money.

    You can’t run commercials that get people worked up this long before an election? Then how come the people who began screaming about death panels and socialism in 2009 won in 2010?

    If you’re a political pro, the infuriating thing about the Belgian Endive-eating amateurs is they never, ever learn. You tell them this crap doesn’t play and they smile and call you old-fashioned. And when they lose, they talk about how uninformed and crude the voters are. Then, two years later, they want to run the same crap in the next campaign.

    What I’d like to know: If, two months from now, Paul Ryan is still being talked about as ‘brave” and Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles are applauding the new Obama cave and the O-Bots are telling us that raising the Social Security retirement age to 70 and putting medicare taxes into personal MSAs is the best deal anyone could have gotten in exchange for extending the debt limit, can we then agree that these ads sucked the sweat off a dead man’s balls? That maybe it would have been better to whip voters into a frenzy so they stoned the wingnuts?

    Or do I just have to swallow another round of butt cheese on stale crackers and listen to yet another round of “Hoocoodanode?”

  87. 87
    John S. says:

    Heh. People who complain about the Democrats not hitting back will find a way to complain about them not hitting back, even when they do. Film at 11.

  88. 88
    Butler says:

    @John S.: The complaints are that this “hit” is nothing more than a flick of the ear. If you’re gonna hit back, HIT BACK! Don’t make it some cutesy crap with a muddled message.

  89. 89
    OzoneR says:

    @Woodrow L. Goode, IV:

    Folks, there’s a reason wingnuts run scary commercials: They work.

    just ask Senator Conway

  90. 90
    OzoneR says:

    @Butler:

    If you’re gonna hit back, HIT BACK!

    could you people be any more vague?

  91. 91
    OzoneR says:

    @karen marie:

    I would rather be a “hopeless liberal” than a sheep in a cheer-leading squad.

    then get used to be consistently outplayed and outmessaged and don’t fucking complain when you do

  92. 92
    Dan says:

    No more like this. Please. Ads that mock the people you’re supposedly concerned about aren’t a very good idea.

  93. 93
    Ellie says:

    I think the ad’s funny, I don’t think it would be effective. It’s not because of the humor but the subtlety. It’s good idea, but it needs to be sharpened up with a voice over to drive the message home. Also, the stripper grandpa segment is funny, but the old guy partying with hot young girls muddles the message at the end where you want a punch. Lose that and put in something along the lines of “lawn guy with a walker” but sadder. Maybe grandpa as a real firefighter: Seniors having to work at physically demanding jobs well into typical retirement years.

  94. 94
    EconWatcher says:

    @Woodrow L. Goode, IV:

    Here’s an example of a politician who won–in a huge upset–with this kind of humor: Paul Wellstone.

    I was a volunteer in his 1990 campaign against uncumbent Rudy Boschwitz, who was the most popular politician in Minnesota and started with something like a 40-point lead on Wellstone. Boschwitz initially refused to debate or pay any attention to Wellstone, who was an unknown college professor whose main claim to fame was getting arrested at farm foreclosures.

    Wellstone ran this awesome ad called “looking for Rudy,” where he showed up at Bosch campaign HQ, followed by a cameraman (in the style of Michael Moore in Roger & Me). There was a gleeming Mercedes in the parking lot; Wellstone looked into the camera and deadpanned, “Nice car….” When he went into the HQ to ask for a debate, the receptionist literally did not know who he was, even though he was the nominated opposition candidate.

    It was hilarious, and it started to move the numbers. After that, he ran a seemingly lighthearted ad about a very serious issue, funding for child nutrition and child programs. He had a bunch of kids using crayons to sign huge checks made out to “Rudy,” and Wellstone’s voiceover said, “if only kids could make campaign contributions, maybe Rudy would vote for their interests.” Kind of funny, but deadly. The numbers moved more.

    My point? I think humor can work, even about serious issues. You don’t always have to hit people over the head with the grim reaper for them to get the message.

  95. 95
    Xantar says:

    This thread is like reading all the pundits who were CERTAIN that Obama lost his debate against McCain in the 2008 Presidential campaign. Everybody’s a media professional, apparently.

  96. 96
    Ellie says:

    @EconWatcher: I agree about the Wellstone ads. The point is that they were clever and funny, but they were not subtle. He did hit people over the head to get the message across. It was done with wit, but the message was explicit.

  97. 97
    BOSS BITCH says:

    No wonder you guys are never get invited to the party. Since it didn’t go over well with internet liberals then I’m pretty sure it will go over well the average voter. Its just like the 2008 presidential debates. The punditry voted always voted for McCain but then you asked the public and they voted for Obama each time. Or like the tax and budget deal. You all hated them, the majority of the public supported them.

    The ad was memorable. period. It will also be accompanied by radio ads and robocalls.

  98. 98
    EconWatcher says:

    @Ellie:

    If this were all they did on Medicare, I would be very disappointed. But I’m on the side of those who say this is a good way to get the ball rolling and get people talking.

    You can’t start with all sound and fury this early.

  99. 99
    Butler says:

    @OzoneR: Aqua Buddha wasn’t scary, it was stupid.

    You know what is scary: ending Medicare and telling old people that will have to destroy their savings and sell their houses in order to give billionaires a tax cut. This isn’t that hard.

    You want a memorable ad, make is a play on the Goodfella’s “bust out” scene, with insurers and Republicans as the villians. You’re old? Fuck you, pay me. Need some pills? Fuck you, pay me. Had to sell your house to afford basic insurance? Fuck you, pay me!

  100. 100
    Butler says:

    Since it didn’t go over well with internet liberals then I’m pretty sure it will go over well the average voter.

    My money says the average voter never sees this ad, and the few who do will see it will see a cutesy ad which hardly any power which doesn’t educate people to the situation at all.

    The ad was memorable. period.

    Memorable does not mean effective! Aqua Buddha will be remembered. Demon Sheep will be remembered. I can remember tons of ads for failed candidates, and even more memorable ads for products I have never bought. To be effective, it has to educated or motivate people to action.

  101. 101
    Ellie says:

    @EconWatcher: Eh, maybe you’re right. The GOP/Ryan plan is polling so badly that in your face ads may not be necessary. It may be that people already have a good grasp of the situation. I just hope that Dems are able to take maximum advantage.

    ETA: I’d still add a voiceover. :)

  102. 102
    OzoneR says:

    @Butler:

    You know what is scary: ending Medicare and telling old people that will have to destroy their savings and sell their houses in order to give billionaires a tax cut. This isn’t that hard.

    showing an old man who can’t walk mowing a lawn to pay his healthcare bills doesn’t do that?

  103. 103
    Paul in KY says:

    @Guster: I wonder if we did a real stark hard-hitting ad (no humor) about this that some of the TV networks would refuse to air it (for some BS reason).

    Have to get the ad on the air.

  104. 104
    Lawnguylander says:

    I woke up this morning to find that the GOP still controls the House. Total fail of an ad.

  105. 105
    OzoneR says:

    @Paul in KY:

    I wonder if we did a real stark hard-hitting ad (no humor) about this that some of the TV networks would refuse to air it (for some BS reason).

    wouldn’t be the first time

  106. 106
    Butler says:

    @OzoneR: It does. Or at least it would if the text of the ad was big enough for old people to read.

    And then that fairly good message gets off track with the final scene. Hee Hee, an old man stripper (for a party of 15 year olds, apparently)! Oh, these times today are so wacky! Now… what was the ad about again? Something with politics?

  107. 107
    David in NY says:

    What’s with the link currently to some James O’Keefe nonsense?

    And yeah, I thought the medicare ad was stupid. Don’t make fun. Show how real people actually depend on medicare, indicate what the government plan would do. Don’t play games.

  108. 108
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @EconWatcher: Woodrow said scorn works.

  109. 109
    John S. says:

    Haters gotta hate, whiners gotta whine.

  110. 110
    wasabi gasp says:

    Haters gotta hate, whiners gotta whine.

    But girls just want to have fun.
    They just wanna. They just wanna.
    Ohhh girls just want to have fun.

  111. 111
    matryoshka says:

    I think the ad is effective because it’s funny, and when something is funny, it is funny precisely because it has a kernel of truth in it. When people laugh, they connect to the idea. It may not move votes, but it plants a seed. Cerberus is correct in saying it’s just part of a larger effort, only one tool in a toolbox.

  112. 112
    Woodrow L. Goode, IV says:

    @EconWatcher: I’m glad you brought that up. Good memory of a great guy.

    But I’d describe the Wellstone ad– which people can watch here— as falling into the “scorn” category. Wellstone is ridiculing– good-naturedly, but it’s still ridicule– a two-term incumbent who won’t debate the other party’s nominee.

    There are a couple of other differences in the ad:

    1. Everyone in Wellstone’s ad is a real person. Nobody in the DCCC ad is.

    2. It was a real situation played for humor. Wellstone was trying to get Boschwitz to debate him and Boschwitz was dodging him.

    The DCCC ad depicts a phony scenario. Anyone really think seniors will be cutting lawns or working as strippers to pay medical bills? Nope. And the minute you say “that’s silly”, you’ve undercut the ad.

    If you want to do a funny ad, show a real situation– seniors taking reverse mortgages and selling their life insurance policy for a lump sum to pay for coverage. I could do a terrific one with (say) Bob Odenkirk for Saul Goodman’s Medical Insurance Financing.

    What the DCCC created was a joke– and I don’t mean that in a good way.

  113. 113

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  114. 114
    Woodrow L. Goode, IV says:

    @OzoneR: I’m sorry, I’ll add a qualifier for you. If you run a scary ad that’s based on information that nobody will stand behind, it won’t work.

    Jack Conway’s Aqua Buddha ad on Rand Paul was criticized by FactCheck.org, which noted that even the ‘victim’ described it as a hazing and not a kidnapping, said “[I]t now appears that the incident was just a weird prank, not a kidnapping.” It concluded, “Whether it’s fair to dredge up irreverent college hijinks from 30 years ago… we’ll leave to our readers to judge.”

    They also said “The Conway ad does contain a claim we find to be misleading. It claims that Paul wants to ‘end the [tax] deduction for religious charities’.”

    Politifact.com responded to the “Aqua Buddha” charge by saying “Because the most salacious details of the GQ story were provided by a woman who requested anonymity, we’re not going to attempt to fact-check that part of the story.”

    On the claim that Paul wanted “to end all federal faith-based initiatives”, it said “the ad’s claim seems pretty accurate to us.”

    To the charge that said Paul wanted to end the tax break for contributions to charity, it said “His opposition, such as it was, would have been part of his support for a broader, fundamental tax overhaul. So we think Conway’s decision to focus on this narrow aspect of the Fair Tax is misleading.”

    Politifact concluded “We think the Conway ad is somewhat misleading in its description of Paul’s views.”

    The ad backfired on Jack Conway because nobody who looked closely at it was willing to say it was true. Even the people who defended it (this article links to most of them didn’t say it was a good ad– they merely supported the principle that you should be able to question someone’s religious beliefs.

    I’ll give you this much– if the DCCC can’t do a better ad than the one John embedded, maybe they shouldn’t try to do a negative ad. This ad will be ignored– bad negative ads trigger a backlash (as happened to Conway).

    I don’t know how the DCCC could manage to bungle a negative ad on this bill, but I’ve been dealing with them for 20 years and they have been pretty good at fouling up campaigns I’ve served as staff on.

  115. 115
    Woodrow L. Goode, IV says:

    @OzoneR:

    showing an old man who can’t walk mowing a lawn to pay his healthcare bills doesn’t do that?

    Nope. You obviously don’t make commercials, so I’ll explain it to you. To be effective, humor has to be grounded in a situation that people fundamentally accept is true.

    Showing an old man packing bags at a grocery store? That would work, because everyone has seen those folks when they go shopping.

    Standing as a store greeter with a walker or cane? Maybe.

    Sitting in his wheelchair in a cube farm making telemarketing calls? That would have Paul Ryan screaming with rage.

    If you’re going to talk about humor, you need to read Freud or Bergson.

    Using humor in commercials is a technique and there are books on that too. Ogilvy on Advertising isn’t the best, but it is readily available (most library systems have it), it’s tailored for the general reader and it’s a fun read. (Use Amazon’s look inside; anyone who watches Mad Men will find it very hard to resist after only a few clicks.)

    E.B. White said “Whatever else an American believes or disbelieves about himself, he is absolutely sure he has a sense of humor,” When it comes to making ads for Democrats, this seems to be all too true.

  116. 116
    Paul in KY says:

    @Woodrow L. Goode, IV: The ‘Aqua Buddha’ ad wasn’t crafted very well. However, the biggest problem was that he ran it 2 weeks before the election & gave Mr. Paul all that time to act all aggreived & chaste & whatnot.

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