Political Ads Get Slicker

From USA Today:

The ads are jazzy, edgy, hip — everything you don’t expect in politics. Which is the point for at least two candidates using them this year to portray themselves as likable, with-it guys.
The ads for Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Maryland Senate candidate Michael Steele look more like spots for Target or Apple or The Gap than for a pair of Republicans. They’re the latest attempt by political admakers to break through the clutter of news, noise and ads for other candidates.
Steele’s ads are playful and chatty even when he criticizes his Democratic rival. One puppy ad starts out with Steele knocking on the camera lens. “Hey, me again, Michael Steele,” he says. He perches on the first letter of his name, poking fun at negative television ads and a headline that says “Steele Hates Puppies.” “For the record, I love puppies,” he says. The closing shot shows two heads, his and the little dog’s.
Democrats have mounted a puppy counteroffensive that mimics Steele’s ads — jaunty music, white backdrop — and borrows the image of him with the dog. The upbeat narrator says Steele opposes abortion rights, supports President Bush on the Iraq war and supported Bush’s veto of funds for stem cell research. He concludes brightly, “Michael Steele, he likes puppies, but he loves George Bush.”

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. Love this line, “Washington can’t fix our problems until we fix theirs.” But I think the counter-point ad was pretty clever too. Maybe the reason he likes puppies is because he’s a Bush Lap Dog.

  2. Whatever works.

  3. daveednyc says:

    I liked the way Steele’s ads were shot, but I believe if this type of ad is “successful” it will reinforce politicians’ habit of going for style over substance.

  4. In complete contrast to the political ads is this totally cute soccer kid who is in an ad for a Danish Bank. Cute cute cute.