June 11, 2004

Primetime Snoozing 

posted by Scott @ 1:33 PM
The Atlantic has a pretty funny and insightful article this month that asks why political ads are so formulaic and boring? A Pittsburgh based media consultant quips:
"It's a lot like fast food........[i]t's cooked up and served the same way every time, and it leaves you unsatisfied and probably with a bit of indigestion."

It's hard not agree with that considering that most ads for either party, or in any year, are more or less interchangeable. The article is a good read, but it's disappointing that it doesn't really explore why this is the case. If ads can be such a powerful force in a campaign and producing interesting and creative ones is such a boon, why wouldn't every campaign be hiring Spike Jonze to make their spots? I suspect that part of the reason may be that most campaigns are essentially conservative in their methods. Viewers may enjoy a creative and memorable commercial, but campaigns are cognizant that a failed attempt could easily backfire and sink their candidate. For every great commercial out there there are dozens of raspberries. Voters may crave more interesting campaign commercials, but at the same time they also like politics to remain a serious affair. A great ad may be homerun, but homerun hitters usually strike out a lot too.

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