Thursday, August 28, 2008

Agenda Advertising

Have you seen the Harry and Louise ads?

They're running now, and are sort of interesting. Watch the subtext of the ads, because while they're talking "affordable healthcare", they don't really define what they mean by "affordable healthcare", but they DO ask that that "everyone" be brought to the table. They also throw up several organizational logos, to suggest some sort of official capacity, I guess.

The website is even MORE vague. Which, as we all know in 2008, is usually a sign that something is up.

But the organizations who've thrown in with the ads at least SEEM invested in affordable healthcare. A quick perusal of the sites doesn't give much more than the typical "we are committed to quality, affordable healthcare, blah... blah... blah..."

I'm honestly not sure what that means.

Given the history of Harry and Louise in a series of ads that were a part of the defeat of the Clinton's attempt at universal health care circa 1993, could it be the same agencies are nervous about what the Dems are going to try to do if they win the election regarding healthcare?

I honestly have no idea at all where this will go... but its going to be interesting to watch to see how the campaign unfolds. What I will find deeply disappointing will be if it's the ol' bait-n-switch with Harry and Louise, and the big solution they're pitching is "things are great! why change the system?"

Agenda advertising is really hitting the airwaves from all kinds of NGO's. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. If you have an agenda you think can gain traction from getting your message in the mix (energy, healthcare, etc...), then why not?

I have my opinions on all this healthcare stuff, but that's for another day.

A completely different kind of agenda ad

Remember Nick and Norm?

Oh, where to start...?

I have this vision of a room full of middle-aged white guys who are so very sick of hearing their kids coming back from college and arguing with them over politics, etc... And wish these kids would just shut the hell up and listen to their old man. What sort of catharsis must these guys have felt when this ad ran, and the young man just caves to the unshakable argument of "It's a FACT."

So, why did the ad campaign fail? (The ads were, btw, apparently a horrible failure.)

A) Obviously Norm was a horrible jack-ass to Nick. And therefore the viewer. You don't sell anything, including an idea, by acting like a pedantic jerk. Even in the context of late 2001.
B) The ads never bothered to actually provide viewers with facts validating their claim. That would have been handy and not increased my cynicism regarding their claims. F-A-C-T. Fact.
C) In a round-about way, the Nick and Norm ads made a really good argument for legalizing drugs. If its legal, at least you can guess you're not buying your goofballs from terrorists and everybody wins. No more money to terrorists, no more money enforcing unworkable laws and the funding from the war on drugs can go to the war or terror. FACT. And Nick can still go buy his dope without the guilt that his goofballs are putting bullets in a rifle somewhere. FACT.

I can't tell you how appalling I found this ad campaign.

You can probably draw some parallel to the success of the ad campaign to how well folks in a free society like being talked to like a punk 13 year old kid getting disciplined by weekend-dad.

Sadly, the "listen to your father" approach, then backing it with half-truths and non-truths (we'll call them "lies") was a hallmark of the government of the era. I'll let you ponder the certainty of WMD's for a moment...

Honestly, I want a little of whatever these ad guys were smoking if they thought this was going to convince the stoners of the world to put down their bongs for freedom.


J.S. said...

Yeah, it's not at all clear what this anti-drug ad is meant to accomplish. In point of fact, I DON'T think that any kind of link has been established between political terrorism and the drug trade (although now that we've got American troops which are guarding the poppy fields of Afghan warlords in the name of U.S. security, we may start to see an increase in this problem). The simple FACT that these people are describing things as FACTS which don't seem to have any basis in reality is probably going to make me more skeptical of their FACTS in the future.

The League said...

Well, the campaign has been dead and buried for about 6 years. I did try to do some research because I assumed that they would have had some facts, and it looked like the connection was more between Africa, parts of Asia and Europe. Its tough to buy the DEA claim or two I found of the connection, as it sort of came across as "oh... yeah. There's a connection, but, uh... we can't talk about it."

I honestly don't think that the people responsible for the campaign understood, at all, how condescending the ad came across.

Steven said...

I'd like too see this ad adapted pro-evolution.

"So you mean to to tell met that by having multiple developmental pathways for multicellular there appears to be a continuious improvement is species".

Yes, it's a FACT, F-A-C-T.

But what about the Bible, it says man's only been here 3000 years and .... etc.

But I really like your observation that essentially the ad makes an argument for decrim.

J.S. said...

In a little side note, the smug, self-righteous tone of the "FACT" guy in this commerical would make me want to punch him in the nose even if he were in the business of trying to help out starving orphans. Who put this horrible commercial together?

Michael Corley said...

Phht, I deal with healthcare issues every day in my job, and even working in a Medicare/Medicaid/Formulary world, I STILL don't understand it.