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Monday, December 18, 2006

Coded racism in campaign ad(s)

Everyone hates negative campaign ads, or claims to, but we'll see them for a long time to come because most analysts conclude that they work. This one was particularly distasteful.

I found this in the Advertising column on the Business Day page of today's New York Times.

The midterm election campaign brought an onslaught of negative commercials, none more nefarious than a spot for Bob Corker, the Republican candidate for the Senate from Tennessee.

The commercial was composed of vignettes styled to resemble man on the street interviews about Mr. Corker’s Democratic opponent, Harold E. Ford Jr. Actually, the interviewees were all actors, including a sexy woman who exclaimed, "I met Harold at the Playboy party!" and returned at the end of the commercial to wink and say, "Harold, call me."

The woman is white. Mr. Ford is black. That set off a furor about coded racism and sponsorship rules for political ads; Mr. Corker disavowed the spot, which was financed by the Republican National Committee. After Mr. Corker won the election, many analysts attributed his victory to the commercial, produced by Scott Howell & Company.

Here's the video, what do you think?

It should be noted that the Dems also ran negative campaign ads against Corker and that Ford ended his campaign with a a "positive" ad calling his opponent Corker "a decent man."

Some independent video wonk made an equaly tasteless unofficial mock ad to comment on the whole flap. Replete with coded homophobia. Or is that satire on homophobia? It's so so hard to say.

// posted by Ellen @  15:23   //Permalink// 
Ellen says hey
Mainer, New Yawka, Beijinger, Californian, points between. News, views and ballyhoos that piqued my interest and caused me to sigh, cry, chuckle, groan or throw something.

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