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, Mitt Romney sucks up to Iowa, Michele Bachmann dubs herself the Iron Lady, and normal people love Ron Paul.
The Ad: Mitt Romney, "Restore America's Greatness"
The Issues: America (particularly Iowa), its greatness (especially Iowa's), and the restoring of said greatness (again with the Iowa's).
The Message: Hey Iowa! Mitt Romney's driving through your town with his sleeves up, humbly asking for your help so he can fix America one hilarious Kim Kardashian joke at a time. No, but seriously folks, Obama's socialism has been pessimistic and bad, but Romney's stern corporate optimism (hm?) will be the light that leads us out of this mess. Are you listening, Iowa? Really particularly Iowa should be listening to this. Until after tomorrow, then everyone should be listening. (But especially people in New Hampshire.)
Who It's For: Iowans.
What Everyone Else Sees: Blatant pandering to Iowans, awkward attempts to seem folksy.
The Effect: Obviously Romney needs to inspire more people than his typical businessy drone and lacquered-hair smarm tend to, but just literally rolling up one's sleeves and showing pretty pictures of flat farmland aren't exactly going to do that. Still, the photography is attractive and so is Mitt's wife, so this has probably won a heart or a mind somewhere in the Hawkeye State. B
The Ad: Michele Bachmann, "Michele's Voice"
The Issues: Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Barack Obama = Jimmy Carter
The Message: Michele Bachmann is the American Margaret Thatcher. That is basically what the entire ad is saying. Bachmann might be capitalizing on the new film The Iron Lady, though she should be careful about associating herself with known liberal Meryl Streep. We're not entirely sure why this is called "Michele's Voice" when Bachmann's voice isn't exactly the best thing about her, but oh well.
Who It's For: Voters (Iowa ones in particular) who are looking for a real political hero rather than just a politician.
What Everyone Else Sees: Somewhat delusional comparisons, an unpleasant voice.
The Effect: Bachmann's probably reaching the end of her presidential road, and so it's mostly just sad seeing her still hoping to be someone as huge as Margaret Thatcher (whether you liked her or not, the woman was a force). But at least she's got her bus friends to keep her company. C-
The Ad: Ron Paul, "Believe"
The Issues: Trust, Consistency, Big Government, Taxes
The Message: A bunch of diverse looking everyday Americans speak out in support of Ron Paul because he's something different, an outsider (with three decades of congress under his belt) who says "No" to all the fat cats. These aren't wacko tin foil hat libertarians, and they're not Kelly Clarkson either. They're just regular folks, folksy folks, homey folks, looking for something new and different. This is the human side of Ron Paul's big ideas.
Who It's For: People who think all Paul supporters are weirdos, people who still don't know what he's all about, Iowans unimpressed by the rest of the old guard in the race.
What Everyone Else Sees: Some of these people look like wackos.
The Effect: Paul has to walk a tricky line of trying to ingratiate himself to more centrist voters yet also sticking firm to his outsider, renegade image. Here he's probably wise to put a bunch of normals on display instead of himself — if someone who looks like your second grade teacher could vote for Ron Paul maybe you could vote for Ron Paul — but it might be too little normal too late. B