Bernie Sanders campaign ad
December 14, 2015
A few weeks ago, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders debuted his first 60 second television campaign ad. Imagine my surprise when I saw it and thought to myself, “This is pretty good.”
Take a look at the ad for yourself, then I’ll tell you why I like it.
Too many campaign ads forget about the need to be visually arresting in a medium like television. It seems basic, but we’ve seen a lot of earnest but dull ads with candidates talking with constituents, giving a speech, or posing with a charming and cute bunch of kids.
The Sanders ad employs a lot of quick cuts and camera movement, visual angles and depth of field. It doesn’t look like a political ad. It looks like an ad for a high tech company. The atypical approach immediately signals to the viewer the candidate is someone different. Someone to be paid attention to.
There is a disconnect for me with the voiceover when the ad loses some steam generated from the dynamic visual design and pulls the ad back toward the classic political approach. It’s such a common sin with campaign ads, it’s hard to avoid.
The ad overreaches in the middle when it discusses the issues, but it recaptures its appeal when Sander demonstrates his personal passion at the end. This is exactly what primary voters want and will help Bernie build up a dedicated core following who can help him spread the Bernie gospel.
The ad might work better later in the election cycle, but as a introduction to voters who are aligned with Bernie Sanders’ way of thinking but don’t know him yet, it’s far better than most.