Is homemade GOP ad attacking Socialism in America the best political ad this election?
October 31, 2012
“The Rich will be Poorer, But the Poor will also be Poorer.”
Rarely does a political ad rise above it’s own hubris or brazen loyalties. We’re seeing scores of them now for myriad candidates and propositions. And, no surprise, most of them stink. Typically, we get a montage of photographs and a sullen script about promises not kept by the opponent and/or new promises being made by the other. Most ads stoop lower. In the end it’s always the same.
But there are exceptions. Hal Riney’s famous “It’s Morning Again in America” for Ronald Reagan. Or Lyndon Johnson’s epic scare-fest, “Daisy” in 1964. These are significant pieces of work that arguably changed the election for both advertisers.
I’m not suggesting the above ad for the GOP rises to those levels but it aims to. The spot opens with an older man, Thomas Peterffy telling us “I grew up in a socialist country…” He then goes on to say why he came to America, rhapsodizing about the American Dream and its wealth “coming from people striving for success.” You see where this is going. If you haven’t already seen the ad on TV, watch it. Watch it again.
Yes, the music and imagery are pedantic. And yes, it’s pure propaganda. But the fact isn’t the facts: It’s the story. And the story is riveting. Whether Mr. Peterffy is right or wrong doesn’t matter. He believes he is right. And his argument is unwavering as it is stoic. When he infers that under President Obama “The rich will be poorer, but the poor will also be poorer” we are thunderstruck. I was anyway. This is the kind of message Clint “The Chair” Eastwood should have made at the Republican National Convention. It’s scary good rhetoric. Playing on the latent –perhaps very latent- DNA of every American. In other words, Peterffy strikes a “responsive chord.” Remember those?
Frankly, I don’t like where either political party is going right now. But this isn’t about me or the candidates. I want only to discuss the above ad from the point of view of an observer of popular culture and as a copywriter.
Politically, I’m numb. For all I know Petterfy’s ad is merely preaching to the converted. It won’t change me. But it did make me pause. It’s the only ad in this election year that has.
“It’s Morning Again in America”