I wasn’t sure if it was the proximity of the big DU debate or the fact that is was a football Sunday and local viewership was bound to be high, but Sunday afternoon featured two high quality Presidential campaign ads that weren’t entirely negative and over the top.
The ads were done so well that I wondered aloud why all ads couldn’t be this way. Obviously, the ads were highly thought of by the campaigns, or why would they put them in a high profile place like a Broncos/Raiders game?
The ads themselves were simple and direct. Both featured the candidate themselves, alone, speaking directly to the camera about what they would do if elected. Both ads were beyond the normal thirty seconds, but not overly lengthy. The tone for both was calm and frankly, positive.
Both ads gave me the impression that if either candidate had an opportunity to speak directly to voters in their living rooms for one minute, this is what they would say.
For everyone who despises the thirty second negative ads that accuse the candidate’s opponent of doing things that would make John Gotti blush, these ads would seem to be exactly what the doctor ordered.
In fact, without finding a real criticism of either ad, I had to dig deep to figure out why on Earth viewers haven’t seen more ads like this on a more regular basis.
Then it came to me. We haven’t seen ads like this throughout the campaign because they don’t work very well.
If they worked well, we would see them throughout the election season. Political campaigns are nothing if not practical.
The reality is that as an audience, we are fairly hypocritical about what we consider a high quality ad, and what actually influences our vote. A straight-forward, direct and sensible ad should be exactly what all of us want to hear and moreover, what all of us should respond to.
However, although we say, and even in our hearts believe, that these kinds of ads are what we want to see, we don’t respond to them very well. We may complain about the negative ads. We may whine about them and even threaten to tune out due to them, but in the end, the negative ads work.
That’s a shame, because the ads that I saw on Sunday afternoon were nearly inspiring. They elevated the process and made me long for days that an election season was something that citizens could look forward to, not simply trudge through.
I am confident that both campaigns have done the requisite research about the ads and if they are proven to work, they may come back. But I don’t think it’s likely. I think they were used for a specific purpose to attract a very particular voter and will be quickly replaced by the ads we are used to.
That’s too bad. Those other ads give us a glimpse of what elections could be, and not as they are.
Oh well, it was nice to live in a fantasy election season, even it was for just a little while.
About The Blogger
- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.