Thursday, September 09, 2004

Post du Jour

Yet another day, yet another post.

A quick auto-bio note:

My mother dropped me off for 1st Grade and a cried like a baby. I had been in both 4-year-old and 5-year-old (as we called them) kindergarten, and still cried like the world had ended. I recall that after about 30 seconds I was fine. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Bassett (no relation that I know of), was not especially warm or nurturing, but she was a good Moravian woman who loved us children as best she knew how, and was able to get us excited about reading, math, and of course, lunch.

On the political front, not much news, but still have an idea for a good Kerry ad. The basic idea is to create a political ad using the strategies and production values of Madison Avenue, a la the famous anti-health care reform ad, “Harry & Louise.” We open on a shot of an old pick-up high-tailin’ it down a dusty road in some canyon out West. (We hear a twang or two of 100% Genuine Country Music under it, introducing). We cut to a shot from a camera mounted on the side and in front of the driver, clearly capturing both driver and passenger. These are proto-typical “good ol’ boys,” wearing cowboy hats, mustaches, with a gunrack.clearly visible.

Driver: “So. We’re s’posed to vote fer Bush.
Passenger: Uh-huh.
[Pause.] Cut to shot of the truck arriving at old-fashioned gas station.
Shot of door opening, Driver exiting.
D: Well, I ain’t gonna.
P: What’re you gonna do, vote for Kerry?
D: Yep.
P: Never thought I’d see the day old Sam Hillers would vote for a Dem-o-crat.
D: Uh-hmm.
P: John Kerry?
D: Yep. He’ll be all right. You’ll see.

Cut and open on Kerry/Edwards 04 w/ legal VO.

I think that’s pretty much there, though I’m sure someone with Actual Talent could improve it a lot.
The larger point is that we need to stop producing commercials that argue our way in, and start producing spots that let us connect to prospective voters emotionally. In my spot, I’m trying to burnish Kerry with some of that Good Ol’ Marlboro Man strength. Trucks, cowboy hats, few words – they add up to traditional American strength. The point is to give voters permission to think that Kerry’ll do “all right. You’ll see.”

I’m sure if we could round up some folks with actual talent, we could think of more and better ideas that would allow voters to connect with Kerry on a more emotional level. How about something like this:

Open on a shot of Kerry in a busy kitchen with his family. We’re moving pots, cleaning dishes, etc. John comes over to the camera and says:JK: Hi. The best times are the ones I spend with my family, even though it can get pretty crazy. But I wanted to remind you that the issues I’m fighting for – families, healthcare, education, our security – are really important to all of us. So don’t forget, this November 2, take the time to get out and vote. Whether you’re someone who never misses a chance to cast a ballot, or a first timer or someone who just doesn’t think it matters, do all of us a favor and get out to vote. If you’d like help learning where to vote, or need any special assistance with transportation or anything else, call 1800THEVOTE.”

Daughter: Come on, Dad, we’re going to cut the cake.

Cut to KE04 and legal VO.

Obviously, the point of this one is to set up Kerry in a warm and family-oriented environment, and to show how much confidence he has in his candidacy. No need to beg for people to vote for him – just get out and vote. Maybe this is too cute, but I’d love to try it and see. I think in the hands of a sympathetic director, this could be great. Of course, the other challenge is that neither JK nor his family are professional actors. But maybe they could pull it off nonetheless.

That’s it for now.

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