Tag Archives: obama

So, Mitt Romney just bored his way to a loss

12 Apr

So, campaigning for the 2012 US Presidential Election has finally begun. I love this time of the election cycle, where we can review ads, dissect them and work out who is going to do well and place bets on who will be the first to sack their campaign staff.

Mitt Romney has just formally announced his candidacy by affirmed his reputation as captain boring as  he introduces himself in a two minute chat about what he did last week. What is strange about this kind of introductory film is that it’s not as though people don’t know who Mitt Romney is. He was a serious candidate to be the 2008 Republican Nominee; he was Governor of Minnesota Massachusetss; he has been listed as a potential 2012 candidate since Obama’s win. So why does he need to introduce himself this way? He should remind people of his points of view and convictions, especially when he has been tarnished in the eyes of the Right by his version of Obama Care and people are suspicious of his religion. He has to show his morals are the same as the next good right wing American’s and I don’t think he does here.

On the flip side of the coin, Tim Pawlenty (or T-Paw according to his website) clearly has employed Jonathan Demme to direct his campaign ads. I’d watch this movie, but I wouldn’t vote for the guy. It’s an interesting concept to use an attack ad to launch a Presidential candidacy, especially when Pawlenty is an unknown compared to Romney.  He should mix this, with Romney’s and he would have a much better ad.

I’ll review Obama’s ad in the next few days

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Obama’s healthcare probably won’t go through this week

18 Mar

Barack Obama has just announced that he has postponed his trip to Australia until at least June, which doesn’t bode well for the immediate future of his healthcare bill.

His bill needs to go through, for the sake of his Presidency and the health of the American people, so he is staying home to lobby for votes. He was due to address a special joint-sitting of the Australian Parliament and had previously shortened his trip so that it was just the one night, but now it is off for a couple of months.

Presumably, he is also postponing his trip to Indonesia and Asia as well, so potentially this bill has also tarnished his position globally. This is very possibly why relations with Israel are struggling so badly.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has already, very cleverly, started to turn a negative into a political positive, by saying he feels an affinity with Obama as they are both facing significant problems with each other’s Senate. Rudd has been pointing out that the Liberal-National Coalition has been blocking significant legislation and Rudd and his cabinet has been calling opposition leader, Tony Abbott, Dr No.

Campaign ads – the best and worst. Part two – political ads

12 Feb

This is the follow up post to the advocacy ads blog I posted yesterday.

The vast majority of these ads are from the USA and generally from Republicans. Like them or loathe them, they do campaigning very well, especially during the Karl Rove era.

First up however is one of Obama’s ads. He never created “great” ads, but a good deal of his involved just him, speaking directly into camera to the audience. This has the benefit of giving a personal message and engaging directly with the viewer. In this ad, he also personalises the story of his mother’s death and the extra pain of her death due to the insurance system in the US. He then brings that story back to the personal lives of everyday Americans which is vital for a successful visual engagement strategy.

If only he was still showing this ad in the last 6 months.

This Carly Fiorina ad is bizarre. Named the Demon Sheep ad, it has become the object of ridicule but also fascination. It is weird and out there and I guess that is its charm. I don’t think it will work, it’s too long, appeals to a fairly small part of the population (the Tea Party) and most importantly, it doesn’t actually target the candidate that is leading the race. This is an attack ad for a spot of the Republican California Senator ticket. Fiorina attacks Tom Campbell, who is a leading member of Governor Arnie’s Cabinet. They are both losing ground to Republican Chuck De Vore, a State Assemblyman who is know for his ultra conservative stance. No wonder she was rated as one of the US’s top 20 worst ever CEOs.

George Bush Senior’s attack ad on Michael Dukakis is one of the most infamous ever. Drew Westen describes it as “one of the low points in American electoral history.” Willie Horton was a felon of the worst order and whatever happened for him to be released was clearly a mistake. The ad however has become part of history. Using emotive, almost subliminal written messaging such as Rape, Kidnap, Stab, stuck in the heads of the public. Fear is everywhere in this ad, the frightening statements, the scary mugshot, the fact that you could be the person stabbed, kidnapped and raped under a Dukakis Government. It is enough to frighten anyone. In fact, this ad wasn’t even an “official” Bush Campaign ad. It was made by the Americans for Bush arm of the National Security Political Action Committee (NSPAC).

Willie by the way wasn’t his real name, he went by William, but that’s not as scary either.

Hilary Clinton’s 3am ad made a big difference during the 2008 primaries and was one of the reasons why she stayed in the race so long. Questioning Obama’s ability and experience, she came up with a pretty powerful and effective ad. It preyed on the fears of parents and grandparents alike. It gave her a good boost in the polls, but let’s face it, the rest is history

Gough Whitlam was the Australian Labor Prime Minster from 72-75 after 23 years of Liberal-Country Government, mostly under Sir Robert Menzies. This ad may seem a tad naff now, but at the time, the ad and the slogan “It’s Time” was hugely influential. Delightfully simple, the slogan simply pointed at the last quarter of a century under a Conservative Government, similar to the Change slogan used by the Obama campaign. No one over in the UK would realise, but the singers are all Australian celebrities and politicians. Australian’s might notice a young Jack Thompson, Jackie Weaver, Graham Kennedy and Bert Newton singing away. Whitlam however only lasted 3 years before he was controversially sacked by the Governor General Sir William Kerr. Whitlam, on the stairs of Parliament House then made the statement “God Save the Queen, because nothing will save the Governor General.” Thus started the first big push for an Australian Republic.

Ronald Reagan put this ad out for his re-election campaign in 1984 and it is brilliantly simple. Patriotic, conservative and a vision back to the halcyon days of America. He doesn’t even appear or speak in it, but at the same time he seems both Presidential and grandfatherly.

Just like his father, Bush Junior wasn’t officially behind this ad, but it was paid for by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. There were plenty of memorable negative ads that hit Kerry hard, but this was particularly effective. Kerry made a big deal out of his Vietnam veteran status saying in a time of war, it was important to have a Commander and Chief who had proper military experience. Kerry won two Purple Hearts and one Silver Star for his heroism, but there were controversial circumstances surrounding this award and this came to the fore in the 2004 Presidential campaign. Kerry also immediately came back to the US post the war and began protesting against it. His initial campaign strategy was to portray him as a war hero, but not long after, these swift boat vets came out and hit Kerry hard. Again, the rest is history

Will Copenhagen be a failure?

15 Nov

Thoroughly depressing news to wake up to this morning. It looks like our feared about the Copenhagen climate change talks have come true. World leaders have admitted that there is likely to be no final resolution and that the Copenhagen talks are most likely to be a starting point to talks rather than an end point.

At the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum leaders including Barack Obama, Hu Jintao and Kevin Rudd, who have all drawn up significant plans for ETS deals and other environmental strategies in their own nations, appear to have given up on uniting world nations’ to come up with a meaningful deal.

This is disappointing, but not unexpected. There has been some intense expectation management over the last few weeks and it seemed almost inevitable that there was to be no lasting strategy to come out of this meeting. The EU has set out strategies to help nations meet their climate change targets,  but nothing has been set in stone, especially in regards to money being set-aside. Developing world nations have been consistently threatening to walk out of talks due to the lack of agreed funding from the developed world to help developing nations fund anti-climate change projects.

Personally, I never really had much faith in the COP15 meeting to come up with any large-scale meaningful treaty. The fact is though, Kyoto formally ends at the end of 2011, begining of 2012. This obviously leaves a couple of years to create a meaningful and effective post-Kyoto deal.

The significance of a no-deal result in Copenhagen, is the number of nations that have created emission reduction schemes that will only be meaningful if there is a result in Copenhagen, the EU is one of these nations. Currently the EU has committed to a 20% reduction in carbon emissions, but it would be 30% if a deal was met in COP15.

Therefore, not reaching a result in Copenhagen will obviously be a failure. Hopefully, world leaders have something up their sleeves and will be able to swoop in at the last-minute to come up with something. In my wildest dreams I can imagine Obama, Rudd or Brown flying in at the last moment and saving the day, but realistically, I think we will still be looking forward into 2010 before a post-Kyoto deal is reached.

Thoughts?