Politicians aim to be subtle with their TV ads—there’s a main message, but there’s usually a hidden subtext, too. That’s why media consultants make big bucks: Working closely with pollsters, they craft commercials that nudge voters toward one side or the other without hitting them over the head with the theme.
So, without the help of seasoned strategists, we figured we’d make things a little more explicit.
Below, Washington City Paper presents what the ads in the Democratic primary for mayor would look like if incumbent Adrian Fenty and D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray were honest about their messages. (And, in Gray’s case, the ad he’d run if his campaign could afford TV time.) What if Gray didn’t have to hide his message that the incumbent is disrespectful and mean, especially towards the city’s politically engaged African American middle class? And what if Fenty could just come right out and admit that he’s appealing to newcomers petrified of the scary-seeming past? It’d be more fun that way, right?
Here’s our version of Fenty’s message:
And here’s Gray’s:
We’d like to see what you can do along these lines, as well. Between now and the Sept. 14 primary, make your own version of Fenty and Gray campaign ads, put them on YouTube and tag them “Honest D.C. Ads.” We’ll look them over and publish the best ones on our site.