David Frum

07.09.12

America's Funniest Attack Ads

attack-ad
YouTube

If you are reading this blog from a "Red" or "Blue" state then you probably have not seen a lot of political advertising on television. If you live in a swing state however, the story is very different. The ad wars are heating up and many third party groups not officially affiliated with the Romney and Obama campaigns are feverishly to shape the election.

Today we are focusing on the advertising from American Crossroads, one of several Karl Rove backed groups. National Journal reports that they are preparing for an extensive advertising blitz which will cost almost $40 million:

Between September 4 and November 5, American Crossroads has purchased more than $10 million in advertising in Florida; more than $7 million in Ohio; nearly as much in Virginia; more than $3 million in Colorado; $4 million in North Carolina; $3 million in Iowa; and more than $2 million each in New Hampshire and Nevada, the group will announce today.

What are their most popular ads? According to the statistics on their YouTube page, it is not the somber and serious one, but the ones that are a little bit funny, or silly.

Unexpectedly, the groups most popular ad is a James Bond themed foreign policy critique from March. The video focuses on Obama's hot mic comments towards Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, promising more "flexibility" on arms control if he wins reelection:

Video screenshot

It features Dmitry Medvedev with an eye-patch and a cat on his shoulder.

Next up, an ad mocking Obama for being too "Cool":

Video screenshot

This ad might have done well because it's just so ridiculous, especially with the cheesy special effects and dance-club soundtrack.

Finally, an ad from March about how President Obama supported a healthcare mandate while candidate Obama did not. The Supreme Court judges look on bewildered as he tries to explain how he changed his mind:

Video screenshot

What seems to be the recipe for success? Silly visuals and a slightly flippant tone.