In the last week, the Obama campaign has begun their campaign to really define McCain. They released their first negative ad on July 7th, on McCain's links to big oil. The second negative ad, though it was really a response, came in late July. Since last Monday, he's released five more TV ads hitting John McCain. Out of the seven TV ads, Obama hits McCain for his links to big oil in five of them. The other two are regional ads where he makes specific claims about DHL job losses in Ohio and Yucca Mountain in Nevada.
Specifically, the ads target McCain's acceptance of oil money and his pursuit of tax breaks for oil companies, and they compare this to Obama's embrace of clean energy. Tangentially mentioned are his links to lobbyist and his support of George Bush. The ads and summaries are on the flip. Before I do my analysis, I'm curious, after you watch them all, what you think, and, knowing that some of you are in marketing, this is a good time to sign up and comment (or email me at stoller at gmail.com with thoughts). One thing is clear; Obama is making a huge bet on running against big oil.
1) Sands, July 7, 2008
This ad is the first negative attack on John McCain, and sets up a contrast. McCain believes in drilling, a gas tax holiday, and tax breaks for oil companies, while Obama believes in clean energy and innovation.
This is more a rebuttal ad against McCain than a negative ad, but it sets up the same frame used against Hillary Clinton. It spends the first fifteen seconds saying that McCain's attacks on Obama are not true, without specifying what those attacks are. It quotes various media outlets arguing that McCain's attacks are false. Then it make the claim that McCain represents the same old politics, and that Obama will break our grip on foreign oil with clean energy.
3) Pocket, August 04, 2008
This is a standard Democratic attack ad, criticizing McCain for taking $2 million from oil and gas companies and refusing to tax their windfall profits. It is framed by sad music while discussing McCain, and happy music discussing Obama's pledge to tax oil companies to give families a $1000 rebate.
4) Original Maverick, August 06, 2008
This is a response ad to McCain's maverick claims, and suggests McCain will continue Bush's policies. It clips McCain discussing how he has been an ardent supporter of Bush, then goes on to say that McCain supports tax cuts for millionaires, he accepts oil company money, and then supports tax breaks for oil companies. It closes with the line, 'The original maverick... or just more of the same?'
5) Yucca Mountain, August 09, 2008
This is a regional ad shown in Nevada, and points out that McCain wants to open Yucca mountain for nuclear waste storage but does not want trucks to drive through his home state of Arizona. He's a standard old school politician.
6) Job Killing John, August 09, 2008
This too is a regional ad buy, in Ohio. It focuses on Ohio's loss of thousands of DHL jobs after McCain's lobbyist advisers helped broker a deal with a European company to offshore these jobs.
7) McCain 'Celebrity', August 10, 2008
This ad mocks McCain as a Washington celebrity, and is by far the harshest of the ad buys. The ad shows McCain on TV shows with ritzy music in the background, and says he represents the same old politics, with billions for oil and gas and nothing for families.