Bill, Barry and Fear-Driven Advertising
An ad hit the airwaves this week featuring Bill Clinton talking about Obama’s moment of courage, in ordering the “get Bin Laden” operation. What does it signify?
They don’t really like each other, Bill and Barry. Pundits like Chris Matthews, stuck with President Obama, are openly, eagerly, speculating about a 2016 presidential run by Hillary, a proxy for Bill. Surely if he had his druthers, President Obama would prefer that Bill Clinton was very quietly retired to a rocking chair. But here it is, barely the start of the campaign, and Obama has gone to the bench, and made
I’m an advertising guy by trade and background. I understand full well the power of celebrity, celebrity endorsers and celebrity surrogates in advertising. But this president is himself a proud peacock celebrity. He got elected as a celebrity, a rock concert star with fainting fans. He revels in it, breaking out into his Al Green imitation, making the late night TV rounds (where
We can safely wager the biggest steak in
A team of theoretically very smart and highly paid political operatives and advertising professionals drove this decision. It’s an odd one. If you own a star, and that star is the person or product you’re selling, you don’t get a rent-a-star to take the lead. It’s very odd.
In my mind, it can mean only two things.
One, that there is a secret fear and desperation within the Re-Elect Obama campaign, perhaps akin to that which had Nixon so fearful of McGovern that dirty tricks and two-bit burglary occurred. That there may be insider polling data and information the media has no clue of, that is so worrisome that Obama’s campaign’s wise men felt need to reduce their star to silent still pictures, and bring in THE Big Dog. If this is the explanation, there may be more Hope for Change than many conservatives feel at the moment.
Or, the only other explanation, astutely suggested by my wife: the Obama people wanted to get Clinton locked in to visible, vocal endorsement of their product as early as possible, to make it harder for him to engage in mischief, as he’s wont to do. It makes sense to head off any subtle or overt undermining of their candidate in coming months. This, too, reveals some surprising fear and trepidation about the campaign ahead. Why worry about
The “He Got Bin Laden” ad not starring the man who (in his own telling) got Bin Laden, but, ironically, instead starring the former president who had his opportunity to do so and muffed it, has some hidden, insiders’ message. I smell fear, but I can’t see why.