Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Seriously. Pop Culture References.....Ur Doing It Rong

So John McCain's campaign first thought THIS would be a good idea to really reach out to the youngsters. Yep, have his daughter go to lunch with Heidi from the MTV show The Hills. Clearly, no keystrokes need to be devoted to why this was not a very wise move. And why this was a pretty good display of how far off the pulse of young people the McCain campaign is.

Ok, McCain is Down With the Kids, Take Two:

How about this?

Surely there's someone at McCain HQ with a "bad idea" button that they can hit when these kind of ads come down the propaganda pipeline, right? I get where they were trying to go with this. Obama is a media darling and so McCain wants to expose him as being an empty shell of a candidate who is as capable of running a country as Britney Spears is of singing without ProTools or Paris Hilton is of doing anything other than remembering to take her Valtrex. A couple of big problems with positing the theory that Obama is akin to Paris/Britney et al.

1. Obviously, it's an exaggerated comparison meant ideally to raise the hackles of people like me who are exhausted by the constant coverage that vapid and untalented celebrities receive these days. One problem. That's assuming that people like me are also stupid enough not to be able to differentiate between a junior senator from Illinois who graduated from Columbia University then went on to Harvard Law School and graduated at the top of his class and currently is one of the few US senators to have a 100% approval rating from Planned Parenthood and a socialite whose career highlights include a night-vision sex tape titled One Night in Paris and Repo! The Genetic Opera. I can keep the two straight. I know the difference between someone whose name I know because they have done something worthwhile (Thomas Edison, Pasteur, Nelson Mandela, James May) and people whose names I know because they have won prize money from a reality show for eating dead animal's private parts or made out with Bret Michaels. It's a bit offensive to young people that you would think you can paint "celebrities" with such a broad brush and we will all just agree that yes, famous people are bad. If that was the case, you'd be Ron Paul's running mate.

2. Let's take the really pessimistic view of this. Let's assume that lots of Americans that will see this are dumb. Like boot-in-their-ass, they-knocked-down-them-towers dumb. So assuming that, your ad is presumably supposed to prey on their hatred of these hoighty toighty Hollywood types with their glitzy cars and fancy houses with them electric gates and cement ponds, right? Ignoring the fact that Britney Spears hails from Kentwood, Louisiana and is known for driving with an infant on her lap with an open bag of Cheetos in her free hand and justified these actions with a simple "I'm country, y'all", I suppose. The good news for you is that anyone who still thinks that Britney Spears or Paris Hilton or any of their ilk are role models are almost certainly not concerned with checking their voter registration status. I highly doubt that the outrage you are trying to stir amongst those blue collar folk over Obama's celebrity is going to make much of an impact on them when they are probably a little more worried about the free falling economy. Back when they could still fill up the two tanks on their trucks, I could see them getting really hacked off about some useless pop princess showing her baby maker to the world and losing her kids and somehow stretching that concept of celebrity to tarnish your opponent when they seem to be popular with the kids. But right now, I can't see this being a really topical issue.

3. Then of course there's the issue of how current your targets actually are. A simple google search of the phrase "top celebrity searches" does, in fact, yield Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan as the top three celebrities. Of 2007. So if this ad were running last year, you would be correct to assume that this ad would be on point and timely. But unfortunately, you look like you got some of your interns to dig up some old People magazines from the doctor's office.

The bottom line is that all of this looks desperate on the part of your campaign. It's like a newly divorced 60 year old man showing up at a nightclub in a leased Italian sports car wearing a crooked toupee, streaky self-tanner, an Ed Hardy satin jacket and asking "What it do?" to anyone unfortunate enough to cross through his line of sight. I'd offer you tips on how to try to appeal to young people less heavy-handedly but I'm afraid you'd just call me a "cunt" in front of a bunch of people like you did that one time to your wife. Actually, one of the things us young people love is when old people swear at totally inappropriate times.

There, the first one's free.


Anonymous said...

are LOL Cats still popular? Maybe he could incorporate them into his ads.

amandacobra said...

sadlee, he cannot haz my vote.

Anonymous said...

Two things. Remember the target audience and do not assume the other side is stupid.

You are not the target for this ad. Most people do not blog or really follow elections. Remember that 12% of people still think Obama is a Muslim. I think you will see a constant barrage of negative ads that are intended to keep those who do not follow elections closely wondering if maybe so much smoke means there must be fire.

This tactic of putting out slightly obnoxious ads may be a winning tactic, using the echo chamber effect. It is relatively cheap to produce these ads. They only need to pay to run them a few times. Then, Fox News (especially), CNN and MSNBC discuss them and debate whether they are true or appropriate. It keeps the campaign focused on negatives and not on issues. Obama's campaign (they hope) will feel obliged to respond to them and may go negative also.


Tommy said...

Poor Britney. Leading up to the war the GOP held her up as a shining example with her just- trust-the-president comment, and now when it turns out the kind of person who would say that is batshit crazy, they toss her over to the other side.

amandacobra said...

And of course, in an example of biting the hand that feeds you....

Paris Hilton's parents donated to McCain's campaign and Britney's still registered as a Republican in her home state of Louisiana. Grand Old Party, indeed.

nerver said...