Why 2018 candidates, parties, and PACs are getting creative with their political ads.
Bad political ads are everywhere. You know the ones — footage of a candidate walking down a quaint Main Street, touring a construction site wearing a hard hat, or shaking hands at a senior center while a disembodied narrator intones their life accomplishments.
Those ads make veteran political filmmaker Mark Putnam’s eyes glaze over.
“Without singling out any particular — I don’t need to — there are so many like that,” Putnam told me in a recent interview.
So as Democrats and Republicans duke it out in the home stretch to the November midterms, campaigns, political parties, and PACs are getting creative on how they’re getting their message to voters. Television networks are full of short, 30-second advertisements either introducing candidates to voters or hitting the opposing candidates on their records.
From partnering with comedy writers to convincing Academy Award-nominated director Richard Linklater to direct an ad, to hiring someone to portray Bigfoot on the hunt for a reclusive congressman, political ads in 2018 appear to be trying to be eye-catching and are straying away from the norm.
Some feel more like a comedy skit than a campaign ad, including a spot from Dean Phillips, the Democrat running in Minnesota’s Third Congressional District, deploying Bigfoot to search for his reclusive Republican opponent Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN).
Others feel like a horror film. Republican candidates, in sharp contrast to Democrats, have been playing on fear and identity politics in many of their ads. In some cases in districts with Democratic nominees who are people of color, Republicans have resorted to tying candidates to terrorism