Thursday, December 20, 2007

Donny Deutsch on Christmas Ads

Advertising expert Donny Deutsch was hard on most of the Christmas campaign advertising, suggesting much of it is a waste of time or not really "on message" for the candidates.

I agreed with some of Deutsch's analyses but disagreed with his criticism of the Obama ad, which I'd argue is simply brilliant. Giuliani ridiculously offers off camera people fruitcakes and sits beside a fake santa. Edwards simply offers a short campaign pitch. Clinton is wrapping presents like "National Pre-K" and "Health Care". Not terrible, but smells insincere which is a key Clinton challenge.

The two "stand out" ads are that of Huckabee, which somewhat spookily features a shelf filmed to look like a cross behind the candidate - almost as if they are sending a secret signal to the minions waiting in the wings for a messianic candidate. Deutsch stopped just short of calling this ad out as a dangerous sign of trends in American politics, but indicated he was alarmed by this type of symbolism.

The great ad is Obama's. His picture perfect family sits beside a tree as Michelle wishes everybody well. Obama then suggests it's time to come together rather than apart, and his family almost frames this concept in a greeting card way with the daughters wishing us all happy holidays. Schmalzy? Maybe, but this ad is a brilliant example of reaching the people you want in the way they want to be reached. Obama needs women to vote for him, not Hilary. This is a huge challenge that his campaign is meeting masterfully with Oprah and ads like this.

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