I’m starting to feel like a TV critic over here, but ’tis the season for 30-second nuggets about goals, achievements, and sandwiches, so I press on.
First up, Joyce Elliot’s second ad:
I think the “isn’t like the rest…Joyce Elliott is persuasive, a uniter” is a wonderful little bait-and-switch. It alludes to the elephant in the room without mentioning the elephant by name, then immediately suggests that the real differences have nothing to do with race. Touting the education credentials is a winner, too. My only knock against the ad is the non-sequitur between Elliott as persuasive uniter who has helped improve Arkansas’s education system and Elliott using her lifelong passion for moving Arkansas forward to get the economy going again.
I’m not saying she can’t be an effective advocate for economic growth, but giving me 15 seconds of her background in education doesn’t suggest anything that would make me think “this person will create jobs.” Overall, though, the commercial is good; it just feels like they wanted to do both an education and a jobs commercial and instead wound up combining the two in the end.
Also here to talk about jobs, Robbie Wills:
Given my sarcastic take on a lot of the ads we’ve looked at, it might surprise you to know that I actually like the do-nothing metaphor. It plays well with Wills’ overall narrative about growing up in Pickles Gap, and the fact that his grandfather sold the do-nothing toy weaves the “my grandpa told me…” part in nicely. The whole “let’s ship ’em to Wa(r)shington” comment was the type of joke you’d almost expect to hear in a small town store, so even that worked, oddly enough. The only problem I had with the commercial was you couldn’t really hear Wills say “be a do-nothing” when the camera switched back to the toy, and that line was kind of the money shot for the whole thing.
The “create jobs” and “getting Washington back on track” were a little tacked-on for my taste, but his jobs plan has been the centerpiece of Wills’ campaign lately, so it didn’t seem nearly as out of place at the end of the commercial as Elliott’s did.
David Boling, come on down!
OK, I get the whole working-instead-of-bickering thing, and I even agree (as would anyone) that a strong work ethic is a good thing from a congressman. What I don’t get, though, is (a) how Boling worked hard to protect AR jobs as Snyder’s chief of staff or (b) how an indictment handed down in the central district of California against a carbon fiber manufacturer has anything to do with Arkansas (though, to be fair, he only says “our consumers” not “Arkansas consumers,” even though it is kind of implied from the context).
From there, we detour through Platitude City, where Congress should “get to work” and “focus on the middle class” by building a strong economy. (They should also, strangely, “provide retirement security and good schools so our kids can get good jobs.” Yes, I know what he meant, but this is what he said.)
There might have been more to the commercial, but, honestly, I kind of zoned out. It’s not that was even a bad ad. It was just uninspired and poorly conceived, and it tried to cram too many ideas and examples into 30 seconds. Rather than hear about the California district court case, maybe give an example of how you fought for Arkansas jobs as chief of staff. Same thing with “focus on the middle class” — give an example of that rather than a generic “strong economy,” “retirement security,” and “good schools” list that is not specific to the middle class at all. That’s my two cents, anyway.