Tuesday, October 26, 2010

American Politics

Now I know what most of you are saying right now... who care's about American Politics?
The truth is that we really should all care about what goes on in America, because whether we like it or not, from a political and an economic perspective the adage "If America sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold" is absolutely true.
Yes I hate that this is so, but it's a simple fact.
I may deny and dispute the theory of gravity, but I cannot deny and dispute the pain when the apple falls out of the tree and lands on my head.
Denying something in theory is fine, but you cannot deny the consequences of a theory.

Moving on.
As many of you may or may not know, South African Law does not allow for comparative advertising. In layman's terms, Pepsi cannot feature Coca Cola in their ads with the intention of dissing them, nor can KFC blatantly say that MacDonald's burgers are total crap and tastes like flavoured cardboard. Even if it's true.

Not so in America.
You could go on television and say anything you like, provided you can prove it and it's not libel.

Which is exactly why I love Voting Season in America.
Everybody and their donkey who's got enough money to buy an advertising slot on TV wants to become a Senator or Congressman, and they're willing to say the dumbest things about themselves or their opponents to win votes.

Here are some of the viral ad campaigns for the upcoming elections in November, and some from the Primaries held in June.

He's in a doctor's office. He's jogging in Vermont's great outdoors. He's littering on Main Street. Oh, and look, there he is in front of the Capitol. Long-shot Vermont Senate candidate Dan Freilich's spoof on the Old Spice ad campaign is equal parts brilliance and failure. It was wise to take inspiration from the deodorant company's viral-marketing smash success, but Freilich falls woefully short on the delivery. And sophomoric editing and tacky stock photos don't exactly help matters. Sorry, Dan. Old Spice–inspired or not, we think your video stinks.

When it comes to making viral video, the old adage holds true: Good artists borrow, great artists steal. So when Christine O'Donnell's campaign decided to make a web video about how much her Democratic rival New Castle County Executive Chris Coons likes to raise taxes, they wisely cribbed straight from YouTube sensation Antoine "Hide Your Kids" Dodson. The O'Donnell video, a faux horror trailer complete with gravely narrator and ominous score, reaches its dramatic climax with the incantation, "Hide your will. Hide your lights. 'Cause he's taxing everything out there." Why are we so sure this tagline is an homage to Dodson? Honestly we can't figure out what else it could possibly mean. One thing's for sure: "The Taxman" is meta–viral video at its best.

John Hickenlooper is not a very good politician. (His words, not ours!) Why? He "can't stand negative ads." Of course, that's easy for him to say: the Colorado gubernatorial candidate ran unopposed in his Democratic primary and has a comfortable lead in the polls heading into November. Instead of slinging mud, Hickenlooper is busy making lighthearted spots like this one, in which he takes a shower every time he sees a candidate talking trash on the tube. Two things we know about the Coloradoan after seeing this ad: 1) He showers fully clothed. Perhaps this is a bit odd, but considering he's on TV, it's better than the alternative. And 2) He's a budding fashionisto! There's business John in his dapper suit and tie; preppy John in his plaid button-down and denim; casual John in an orange polo and dad jeans; summer John in a bright yellow Hawaiian shirt; and western John with this khaki cowboy hat. Go on, Mr. Hickenlooper, keep scrubbin' and struttin'.

After months of trailing Republican primary opponent Marco Rubio in the polls, Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced in April that he would run for Senate as an independent. The switch prompted Good Time Charlie to rethink more than a few of his positions, which in turn inspired the conservative American Action Network to dream up this spot, which hits Crist as a flip-flopper. "You'd better not mark Charlie Crist's policies in ink," the narrator warns as a tattoo artist needles correction after correction into some poor sap's flesh. Hey, thanks for the heads up, AAN. We were totally thinking about getting a rad tat of some Senate candidate's policy proposals before we saw this video. Crisis averted

We can't tell if Florida congressional candidate Dan Fanelli is being serious with this ad. He opens with some pretty intense racial profiling, as he points to a nerdy white guy and a stacked Arab guy, and then asks which one looks like a terrorist. Then he moves on to deluded narcissism. Grinning, Fanelli approaches the camera and says, "Let's face it. If a good-looking, ripped guy without much hair was flying airplanes into the Twin Towers, I'd have no problem being pulled out of line at the airport." Sorry, Dan. You might be as bald as Bruce Willis, but you're lacking in just about every other department.

There you have it. Just some of the Best and Worst viral political ads for 2010.
I must admit that last one had me stumped. Even I wasn't sure what the message was. At one point I was expecting that beefy Arab-looking dude to pulverize Dan into camel dung!

If you'd like to see the rest of the ads, visit Times website and check out some of their other viral videos.