Campaigning 101: How not to make a campaign television ad.

Yesterday, we showed you Christine O’Donnell’s recent campaign ad, where she proclaims that she is “not a witch.” In case you haven’t seen it yet, here it is again. I would like you to watch it from start to finish.

Ok, now I want you to watch it again.

So, what did you hear? This is what the O’Donnell campaign wanted you to hear:

“I’m not a witch. I’m nothing of what you’ve heard. I’m you. None of us are perfect, but none of us can be happy to see what we see all around us. Politicians who think spending, trading favors and backroom deals are the way to stay in office. I’ll go to Washington and do what you do. I’m Christine O’Donnell and I approve this message. I’m you.”

But this is what you actually heard:

“I’m not a witch. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, did I turn off the stove, blah, blah, blah.”

Yes, the line “I’m not a witch” is such a powerful line that it drowns out the rest of the message. We, as listeners, don’t really pay attention to what is being said throughout the rest of the commercial. Instead, we are fixed on these four words throughout the entire 30-second ad.

Just think of how powerful this line is. For example, what if Carl Palidino started a commercial like..”I’m not a racist and don’t watch raunchy internet pornography.” Would you remember the rest of the commercial? Would you remember him telling you how he wants to fix New York or anything else? No, not at all.

This brings me to a very fundamental “Campaign 101” tactic. When making any type of advertising, you talk about your strengths or your opponent’s weaknesses. Yet this ad is amazing…it actually uses one of the candidate’s weaknesses. Simply amazing.

If the Tea Party GOP candidates continue to run their campaigns in this manner, Democrats should not fear a massive GOP sweep in November (which I feel is more of a myth anyway). As along as these candidates give us reasons “not” to vote for them, many of us will be happy not to do so. We can only hope that a majority of GOP candidates will follow O’Donnell’s example.

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