Saturday, January 29, 2011
The endless campaign cycle is now officially an American art form. Courage to Stand is the new feel-good hit of the campaign season. It’s from former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, and does what any ad should: polarize. The title of this post itself inspired by one YouTube comment: “Tim Pawlenty/Michael Bay 2012. Government assistance for the few, lens flares for everyone.”
Don’t forget a rockin’ soundtrack by Aerosmith, Mr. Skaman290. He does share some of the same sentiment found on AdRants, where some hate the second coming of Reagan in glorious production value, while others see nothing wrong with a narrative of inspiration and American values.
Maybe polarize is the wrong word to use. The ad itself presents as a message of hope, and doesn’t polarize (read: shock), the way Johnson’s Daisy had. The polarizing is likely born out of the opinions that people already have of him, ones that contrast with what you see in the spot. Half of me wants to say beware false Reagan prophets, as almost every GOP candidate seems to be compared to him lately, while the other half likes a theme from a presidential candidate which stays out of the gutter.
Another comment suggested that it’s way too soon to run this type of ad in a campaign. Generally that’s true, as the last month or so is reserved for candidates to clean up their act, all in an attempt to abandon the ominous tones their attack ads took against opponents up to that point.
I’m not saying Tim’s my boy either – far from it – but you can do worse with your messaging than broad statements about human achievement. Just ask Obama how that worked out for him. On the flip side, ask Sarah Palin, who prefers incite to insight. Political leanings aside, you can’t laud Obama for similar rhetoric but complain about Pawlenty here. From a purely thematic perspective, this spot could make any candidate look good.
There is though a slight irony at work in his message. His mention of security seems to abandon the notion of Hope and the human condition ever being able to change. Instead, we just need bigger and better armies to deal with threats. That hole in the plot aside, I agree with Steve Hall and don’t mind establishing a more inspirational tone in political ads, even at the outset. Especially one that elevates campaign rhetoric to a level befitting presidential candidates.
At least until the real dirt comes out.