January 22, 2008

Local ad wars

I, like many of you I'm sure, have gotten various mailings from candidates Lack, Boland, and Jacobs, among others. (though nothing from Rumler.)

And if you turn on your TV at all, you've likely caught one of Sen. Jacobs' new televison ad. Boland began running his own TV ad recently as well.

Jacobs' ad is well produced and has all the requisite pleasing images that flatter the candidate, (including the obligatory shot with kids) as ads are designed to do. It touches on a few issues that Jacobs claims he's accomplished and ends with a tight shot of Jacobs himself asking for the viewer's vote. All around a good, tight, effective spot, which when compared with Boland's more low budget TV spot, proves the axiom that you get what you pay for.

Boland's spot is not nearly as slick, and bears all the hallmarks of a locally produced effort... poorer video quality, etc. While it's not as slick, and a bit more busy with several rapid cuts to various still shots of Boland while it touches on several of his claimed accomplishments, it's not too bad.

One picture in particular is certain to grab viewer's attention, (it sure caught my eye) though I'm not sure for the reasons they'd hope. In one shot, Boland is shown reading to children dressed in a circus-like king costume as "King Reader" (correction: "Royal Reader"), according to the caption. Not sure a candidate essentially dressed as a clown is a great image, even if it purports to show his devotion to education, but perhaps I'm being too cynical.

The mailings are all standard issue campaign stuff, with Jacobs' of course showing a more expensive production.

But the recent Boland piece I found very frustrating. It was very well conceived, but horribly executed.

The folded mailer shows a picture covering the entire front half page. A pictures shows one of those ding-bells that cooks use to summon waitresses when the blue plate special is ready to take to the customer.

The bell is sitting on the corner of some platform in the left foreground, while in the large background is a few indestinct blobs. Aside from the bell, the rest of the page is so blurry, dark, and without contrast that you really can't tell what it is, and you don't bother, because it's so blurry that you don't look any further than the little ding-bell (for lack of a better term.)

The copy reads, "For more than 30 years, THIS was his workplace."

OK. At this point, I'm wondering what the hell this is about, because you have no clue it's a political mailing at this point. So I'm thinking, "What? Some guy worked as a short-order cook for over 30 years?" At least it got me curious as to what the hell it was about.

So I flipped it over to the back side. There I see a picture of some young people all looking intently at a laptop with the copy, "If you want a glimpse into the FUTURE, walk into a classroom TODAY."

Ok. Where's this going? Still no mention of Boland anywhere.

So I tear the seal to unfold the piece and the mystery was revealed.

It was a well produced and attractive two page spread explaining that Boland taught for 30 years and, "knows how important it is to have leaders committed to making sure our children receive a quality education."

The opposite inside page has more copy beside a picture of an adorable little schoolboy which lists several accomplishments Boland points to. (which like Jacobs', takes credit for securing WIU funding.)

A well done effort, aside from the utterly bewildering front picture.

And perhaps not mentioning Boland anywhere on the outer sides of the mailer was a great way to get people to actually open the damn thing.

Wonder where the ad wars will go from here?

What are your impressions of the political mailers, ads, etc. that you've seen? (and post that are blatantly written by the candidates or surrogates don't cut it. Honest comments aren't that hard to spot.)


At 1/23/2008 6:54 AM, Anonymous Lackvoter said...


How is it possible for Boland to serve in elective office for thirty years and in the classroom "for more than 30 years"?

Did Boland graduate from college when he was 10?

State records show Boland is 66, not 96 years old. Dope, please resolve this apperant discrepancy.

At 1/23/2008 5:51 PM, Anonymous HiFi said...

Actually, the reason Boland is wearing the Jughead crown is because he is a "Royal Reader." Not exactly sure if it matters (much less why it was even in the ad in the first place), but we should, I feel, show proper deference to our local monarchs.

It's also very obvious that Jacobs was prepared for this, that ad looking as though it was prepared for the Jacobs/Beals race, while apparently Boland thought (against all logic) that he would not have opposition and waited on ad production until the last minute.

At 1/24/2008 8:41 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...


I don't know. Maybe wormholes? Tears in the fabric of time? Chrono-synclastic infundibula?

Perhaps it's best left to someone like Stephen Hawking. I used to occasionally dabble with the space/time continuum, but I'm really rusty. Perhaps a local theoretical physicist could ease your troubled mind on this matter.

At 1/24/2008 8:41 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Thanks for that correction, and sorry about my mistake. I do strive for accuracy.

At 1/24/2008 9:37 AM, Anonymous I used to be disgusted, but now I'm just amused said...

Hiya TID,

Boland's ad wasn't put together at the last minute, it's recycled stuff from 4 years ago. The images etc in that ad originally aired in the '04 ad Boland apparently threw together at the last minute in his first battle with Steve Haring.

The same ad, slightly edited, ran in '06 for a short time, mixed in with the professionally produced ads put together by Springfield. Now it's been edited again for '08or so it would appear.

Why the hell Boland is so enamoured with that "Royal Reader" pic is beyond me.

I've always liked the way Mike votes in Springfield, but some of his decisions in campaigns and endorsements can only leave a fellow shaking their head!

At 1/24/2008 9:40 AM, Anonymous HiFi said...

Mike was born in 1942 according to his state website and was first elected to the Legislature in 1995 making him approximately 53 at the time of his election. Assuming he became a certified teacher around 22 or 23 (the earliest someone could reasonably be certified after college), he could easily have bored students for 30 years before taking his show on the road to Springfield.

On a side note, if you watch the end of the Jacobs ad closely, the legal language at the bottom reads: "Paid for by a whole lot of 'Friends of Mike Jacobs'". I'm glad Mike is so committed to showing his grassroots support by placing a hidden show of strength in the small print that only a hand-full of people would have read anyway. What a very Mike Jacobs thing to do.

At 1/24/2008 10:08 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Hifi, thanks for doing the math on that. I just didn't want to at all.

And don't you dig that quasi-symphonic music bed behind the Jacobs spot?

I too noticed the "whole lot" thing. It does kind of personalize it I guess. At least he restrained himself (or was restrained) from putting something like, "and we've got a TON of campaign cash! Bwah ha haha!" or something similar.

At 1/24/2008 7:58 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

Once upon a time, Mike Boland was against taking PAC money from utilities. He criticized other politicians for doing so and he felt that this practice was contrary to the interests of consumers. But oh how time has changed! According to Boland's last 2 semi-annual financial disclosures, he now takes money from ComEd, Exelon, AT&T as well as a number of banking interests.

At least with Jacobs, what you see is what you get. He raises his money wherever he can get it and he does not pretend to be too good for certain PAC contributions. (There is a certain honesty in that) But Boland on the other hand, masquerades as a great "reformer" then he turns around and takes money from the same sources as everyone else.

At 1/26/2008 8:01 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Well, yeah, there's a "certain honesty" there. But is admitting that you're wide open to influence really something admirable? It's preferable to someone trying to hide it in any way possible, but still.....?


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