Dueling ads about Planned Parenthood

On his Daily Caller blog, AOL/Huffington Post ‘fugee Matt Lewis talks about why a recent ad taking on Planned Parenthood works – noting that the inclusion of a former Planned Parenthood staffer helps strike an authoritative blow to the abortion provider’s claim to be about more than abortion.


In contrast, here’s one of the ads Planned Parenthood has been running on local Washington stations, most likely to scare the Congressional staff who live in the area:

This ad is effective, too – at least to a degree: it highlights a personal story and diverts the attention from their core business of pregnancy termination, which is a political loser.   Unlike the ad referenced by Lewis, this ad (and other Planned Parenthood ads) have used a male voiceover.  At first blush, that seems like a bad mistake; after all, isn’t Planned Parenthood trying to position itself as the voice for women’s health?  But there might be a method to the madness: the male voice allows Planned Parenthood to convey a sense of urgency and anger without allowing a listener to dismiss and stereotype the message as “angry feminist” rhetoric.

It also might have been a budgetary consideration; the ad itself looks like it was made cheaply and quickly.  And that might be a bit of strategy, too: after all, if you are paying for ads that say you need a handout, the ads probably shouldn’t look too slick.

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