Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Democrats Getting Their Ducks In A Row For The Mid-Terms With Quality Ads



George Clooney said some time ago that he speaks his mind and if what he says resonates with people he stays. If it doesn’t he moves on. Doesn’t waste time trying to persuade them. Smart guy, I thought. 

But what do you do if you’re a Democrat running for the House or Senate, passionate about your work and your ideals? Strong in your belief that the Democrat way is the better way to govern and that if the whole Congress lands in the hands of the GOP America will be in big trouble. 

You can’t just walk away from all those Republican voters who hate your guts because you’re a Democrat, and who reject you the minute you open your mouth, not willing to listen to anything you have to say. Even if what you have to say can be helpful to them if only they’d open their minds.
It’s hopeless preaching to them or unleashing your passion on them. That’s as good as pressing the remote control yourself for the mile high reinforced steel gates that come clanging round their minds to shut you out. Forget about facts, they don’t want to know. Ditto logic. 

So you tell it with pictures. We can resist the full frontal assault of words relatively easily but it’s much harder to shut out an image that appeals to something in you even if it comes from somebody you hate. Images go straight to the heart, and our capacity to be logical and clever can’t touch that part of us because the heart rules, that’s the truth; we often think the mind does but we’re wrong.  

Think about that ad for the Obama campaign in 2012. It’s clean, easy to watch. There’s no in your face arguing or trying to convince you to vote for Obama. You can see it here http://vimeo.com/55861616 The ad was made by Putnam Partners. It’s a thing of beauty. 

Mark Putnam, who founded the company, has had more than twenty years as a political media consultant and campaign strategist. He has helped elect eight governors, eight U.S. senators, dozens of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and an American president – that last being Barack Obama. 

A lot of people bitch and moan about having political ads thrust at them all the time and I can understand that, especially when the camera-work and editing are terrible, the message is just nasty and it’s all about lies anyway. But Mark Putnam’s ads are gripping, gorgeously shot and fabulously edited. In short, they’re classy, and they either entertain or they move you. He doesn’t script downright lies. And he's dynamite at using sub-text.

Alison Lundergan Grimes’ brilliant ad was done by Mark Putnam as well. You can see it here http://vimeo.com/39214177 She’s running against Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. A lot of people said at first that she didn’t have a hope in hell of winning against him because he has such a huge war chest and he’s known – though not liked – and she isn’t. But she’s managed to raise some serious money and polls have her closing in. Some even give her the edge now.   

Putnam is making ads for quite a few Democrats these mid-terms, which is heartening; they need all the help they can get. And if millions are being spent on political campaigning it’s good to know at least some of those dollars are going to quality ads and truth-telling.