media, Politics and Grassroots

Why’d you make a commercial like that?

For those of us in the Washington, D.C. media market who spend our evenings enjoying local news followed by the power hour of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, this Creigh Deeds commercial is very familiar:

It is, obviously, an attempt to throw Bob McDonnell’s 20-year-old words back at him – and since Deeds’s other strategy is a crippling inability to give straight answers, the strategy is sound.  This commercial is almost laughably bad, though – and not just for the forced lines, stereotypical feminists, awkward pauses, or the final line – “Why did you vote that way?” – being blurted like a Valley Girl’s question about when the mall opens.

It’s clearly geared toward working women in Northern Virginia, but if all professional women in Northern Virginia were as angry as the women in this commercial appear, there would probably be a lot more men walking around maimed.  The actors are confrontational – which wouldn’t be a problem if the commercial was being watched by McDonnell.

Unless an independent voter already shares their rage, chances are this commercial will not convince them.  A more persuasive – and effective – method of conveying righteous indignation would have been to show these women with families, or to feature younger professionals in their early 20’s.  That would have helped independent audiences to connect with the women.   Their demeanor was way off, as well: media trainers will always suggest you smile whenever you are on camera, because it will help viewers identify with you more.  It’s difficult to identify with someone who is shouting at you.

The Deeds campaign could also have used humor intentionally: “Bob McDonnell’s thesis – A Caveman Could Do It.”  Thay’ve put together a pretty funny commercial as it is – but I don’t think that was the intended effect.

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