Ad Wars – Going Negative

John McCain released a new ad this week that looks to criticize Barack Obama’s celebrity-like popularity.

The 30-second spot, called “Celeb,” flashes video from Obama’s Berlin rally alongside images of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, while a narrator says “He’s the biggest celebrity in the world. But is he ready to lead? With gas prices soaring, Barack Obama says no to offshore drilling, and says he’ll raise taxes on electicity? Higher taxes, more foreign oil. That’s the real Obama.”

It seems ironic that, while he complains about the unfair media attention being given to Barack Obama, John McCain’s own ad uses Obama’s image and name so much. There’s nothing but the Illinois Senator for the first 25 seconds of the ad – I counted ten different images of Obama while it shows just one for McCain and Obama is referenced (by name and on screen) seven times. Until the last few seconds, you could be fooled into thinking this ad had nothing to do with John McCain. And looking back at the ads McCain has posted on his YouTube account, this is nothing new.

Since Obama won the Democratic nomination, McCain has made seven TV ads that go after Obama – “Celeb,” the highly-criticizedTroops,” “Pump,” an earlier version of “Troops” called “Troop Funding,” “Seal,” “Dr. No,” and “Words.” Some of them – “Seal,” “Dr. No,” and “Words” – don’t even mention McCain’s name at all. Not only does McCain run the risk of coming off as a grumpy old man telling everyone to stop getting their hopes up, he also could fall into the “Don’t Think of an Elephant!” trap with this kind of messaging. Here’s something John McCain might want to consider: how are you going to make people stop thinking about Barack Obama if even you can’t stop talking about him?

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One Response

  1. […] criticism of earlier McCain ads was that they often spent too much time talking about Senator Obama and not […]

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