Friday, October 15, 2010

Political Ads: Good or Bad?

In a media-saturated environment in which news, opinions, and entertainment surround us all day on our television sets, computers, and cell phones, the television commercial remains the one area where political candidates have complete control over their images.

Television commercials use all the tools of fiction filmmaking, including script, visuals, editing, and performance, to collect a candidate's major campaign themes into a few powerful images. Ads draw emotional reactions, rousing support for a candidate or raising doubts about his opponent. While commercials reflect the styles and techniques of the times in which they were made, the fundamental strategies and messages have tended to remain the same over the years... or have they?

With all that being said, let's jump into a question that has been on the mind of the American people: Are the ads on television going too far? Some people feel that ads are coming off as slanderous and simply too much money is being spent on campaign advertisement. Other people feel that the television ads are a way for candidates to make an image for themselves and give the viewer an opportunity to see another side.

Let's take a look at an ad that has stirred a bit of controversy. Christine O'Donnell, a Delaware Senate candidate, has had some issues with her previous "dabble" in witchcraft, which she talked about in 1999 on Bill Maher's television program, Politically Incorrect.

Watch the advertisement HERE

Her political ad was known to be in direct response to the "re-airing" of the 1999 episode on Politically Incorrect. The price of the ad must not have been cheap as Fred Davis, a veteran of many past Republican races, made the 30-second TV spot for O'Donnell. We all remember Mr. Davis's advertisement for Republican Presidential Candidate in 2008, Senator John McCain.

After viewing the ad, a question remains with me...how much good did this ad do in helping people not associate her with witchcraft? You could argue that addressing an issue like this in a political advertisement will draw more attention to the subject, with the better solution being to leave it alone. With the national attention on this advertisement and it going viral on YouTube and social media sites like Facebook, who is really being fed this advertisement? One must ask is she trying to clean up her image with the American people, or the registered voters of Delaware?

So I ask you, have political ads gone too far? Are they simply just showing the voters their pocket size and who they can hire to help them clean up their image? Give us a shout and let us know how you feel about political ads. Until next time, happy reading!

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