?How do I love this ad? Let me count the ways?”
? Slate Magazine?s Chief Political Correspondent William Saletan?s review of?this Wes Clark for President ad.
The most important part of our ads are the first three seconds.
If an ad seems like a political ad in the first three seconds, the next 27 seconds or 57 seconds won?t matter.
The Responsive Chord must be set off from the absolute first words and images. It?s the art of storytelling: you must release the audience?s imagination from the beginning, and if you do it right, their attention will be riveted and their emotions engaged for however long you deserve it.
In the very first words, images, and sounds of the ad, we are creating the electricity that this is not going to be a typical political ad or even a typical political biography ? this story is different because the candidate is different, and the audience is engaged immediately at responding to the values that the story releases in waves.
This ad launched the Clark for President campaign in New Hampshire and was singled out for a Pollie Award as one of the best Presidential campaign ads of the year.
?How do I love this ad? Let me count the ways. I love it because it?s a story?
The ad doesn?t rush the viewer. It doesn?t try to cram a maximum of words and images into 30 seconds,as many ads do. It relies on still black-and-white photographs, giving you eight seconds to absorb the first scene ? an unheard-of commitment in television time ? and three to five seconds to absorb each of the rest. I like the attitude this commercial reflects: If you can?t do the?job right in 30 seconds, take 60.
Some campaigns think they have to use motion and color just because television permits it. But what if motion and color are part of the blur you?re trying to cut through? Sometimes the best way to catch people?s ears is to whisper. And sometimes the best way to catch their eyes is to show them something still, simple, and powerful, a reprieve from the chaos of the medium.
?A quiet, real American courage,? says the narrator as the scene quietly shifts from one reality after another. Only one word emerges on screen to summarize the pictures: ?responsibility.? The word stays there for four seconds, white on black, unencumbered by imagery, and no words follow to wash it out. The point isn?t to stuff your head full of words. The point is to leave your head alone so this one word sticks.?
? Slate Magazine?s Chief Political Correspondent William Saletan?s review
? ?Clark?s television commercials, which are the best of the field, root his accomplishments in traditional American values. He lost his father at a young age, was raised by a hardworking mother and succeeded in the military with hard work, loyalty, independence and courage.
His media consultant Joe Slade White delivers these messages without the sometimes heavy-handed execution of the Kerry and Edwards bio spots. He manages to weave Clark?s heroism into a commitment to ordinary soldiers who would follow him anywhere because he stood up for them?it is as good a collection of spots as I?ve seen in some years.
If I was still working for candidates, his are about the only ones of the current crop I?d be proud to see on my reel.?
? Ben Goddard ? political columnist ? The Hill ? 2004