A political ad that became so famous the BBC devoted
an entire documentary to it and the Smithsonian Institution
chose it for its Permanent Collection.

 

After it aired, the “Bodyguards” ad became so talked about, the British Broadcasting Corporation sent a correspondent and film crew to America to examine how it had been created, and then devoted an entire documentary to it.

Two years later, the Smithsonian Institution selected “Bodyguards” for inclusion in its Permanent Collection of American political history.

At a seminar a political consultant said: “People love the Bodyguards ad, but often miss its real significance. Most consultants would have taken those facts and done a clichéd negative ad with an evil-sounding voice-over and ominous music. Joe revolutionized negative ads by creating those remarkable images and devastating humor, all without a single spoken word. That’s what makes it unique and why it’s had such a lasting impact on political advertising.”

Watch an excerpt from the BBC documentary below

“One of the most devastating attacks in recent years.”

– British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

Incumbent Denver Mayor Frederico Peña was seen as very vulnerable and there were at six candidates in the race opposing him.  All of them were saying pretty much the same thing, no one was standing out from the crowd.

To win, we had to do something different that could cut through the clutter.

Polling and focus groups showed us that Denver voters felt Peña was arrogant and remote.  Digging through the opposition research we found a little noticed item about one of the hundreds of line items in the city’s budget, that Mayor Peña had a squad of six bodyguards at a cost of a quarter of a million dollars to Denver’s taxpayers.

So we went to work.

Suddenly Don Bain was the focus of attention, and rose thirty points over three weeks, past all of the other Peña opponents and into a run-off.

And the follow-up ad…