Finding Meaning Where There Is None

What do you think about when the words “Country First” are attached to an ad?
John McCain, who has adopted this tag as his campaign slogan, would like you to think that he’s a patriot genuinely concerned with your problems. Yet, there are so many ways to read this line. I read it like this:
What does “Country First” mean to you?

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Mark Trueblood says:

    He’s trying to appeal to his base…

  2. Tom Messner says:

    Nah, direct appeal to

  3. “You know, I think you may have noticed that Senator Obama’s supporters have been saying some pretty nasty things about Western Pennsylvania lately. And you know, I couldn’t agree with them more. I couldn’t disagree with you. I couldn’t agree with you more than the fact that Western Pennsylvania is the most patriotic, most god-loving, most, most patriotic part of America, and this is a great part of the country.” –Moon Township, Penn., Oct. 21, 2008

    He’s less ambivalent about others, however.

    “I hate the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live.”
    –John McCain to reporters on his campaign bus, February 17, 2000

    His apology: “I was referring to my prison guards, and I will continue to refer to them in language that might offend some people because of the beating and torture of my friends.”

    The old man was ornery and covered with scars
    He got some in prison and others in bars
    The rest he got from crashin some cars

    He’d get drunk and mean as a rattlesnake
    And there wasn’t too much that he would take
    From a stranger

    Tryin’ like the devil to find the Lord
    Workin’ like a [insert racial epithet] for my room and board
    With a little help from my rich wife’s stash
    If that ain’t country, I’ll kiss your ass