As the Republican primary heats up, that can only mean more ads. Which ones succeed? Which fail? We'll be reviewing them as they come out. Today, Rick Santorum makes a timely VH1 reference and Mitt Romney says happy totally normal Christmas.

The Ad: Rick Santorum, "Pop Up"

The Issues: Family life, the approval of Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin, firm anti-choice stance

The Message: See? Rick Santorum isn't the embarrassing, slightly creepy guy everyone seems to think he is! He's normal and coaches little league and likes to pass footballs... and legislation. Also he knows what television is, as evidenced by this timely Pop-Up Video reference.

Who It's For: Someone, anyone, who might still consider voting for Rick Santorum.

What Everyone Else Sees: Wasn't Pop-Up Video like fifteen years ago? How many kids does he have? He's still running for this thing? Weird.

The Effect: This feels a bit like kicking a frothy mixture when it's down, but this is an embarrassing little ad. It doesn't say anything substantial and it appears bizarrely dated. D

The Ad: Mitt Romney, "Merry Christmas"

The Issues: Christmas, Religion, New Hampshire, the Troops

The Message: Hey New Hampshire, don't forget that Mitt Romney is running for a primary in your state, why look there he is right there. And in case you, or anyone really, was concerned about that Mormon stuff, have no fear, Mormons love Christmas just like you! So, Merry Christmas: It's a happy holiday but also a somber one as we Americanly shout out to the troops.

Who It's For: Values votes scared of Mormonism, Granite State dwellers, military families.

What Everyone Else Sees: Yeah, yeah, sure, just a normal Christmas for you Smithites, huh? When do the seeing stones come out? And the golden books? And all the other wives?? Also Iowans might be thinking: "Why isn't he here?"

The Effect: A pretty basic video greeting, this does little but remind everyone of Mitt's Christianity (no Happy Holidays here) and that, y'know, he'd like you to vote for him in primaries. Blah. C.