Obamercial Analysis

Well, my one man focus group kind of fell through.  Not really; he had to leave, but he promises me that he’ll watch it sometime before we come in to work tomorrow and give me his thoughts.

But while we wait for an undecided opinion, I give you my own.

In all honesty I was a little apprehensive as to what we would watch tonight.  This is prime time tv, and politics can be a tough thing for a lot of people to handle in hard doses, especially when we are talking about a half hour geared towards undecideds.

But the first thing that was done extremely well was the production value.  This was just good television from an aesthetic aspect; with the subject matter making regular shifts so as to hold the viewer’s attention.  Had this been a half hour long speech, that I think would have been a problem.

But this leads to the next thing I think was done extremely well; Obama wasn’t the focal point of the program so much as he was the host or the moderator.  This thirty minute spot was as much about the American people as it was about him, with several “Joe the Plumbers” telling their story which gave Obama the chance to talk about how we could expect an Obama administration to make their lives better.

But I think the focal point of this program was not so much to sell the policy.  If polls are to be believed, most Americans already trust him more than they trust McCain to handle the economy and guide us out of this economic crisis.  The focal point of this program was to make Obama less exotic, more American; to give him a platform from which to connect with the average American, and then to see him as the President of the United States.

To this effect, the biographical spots were well executed, right down to the single picture of Obama’s father.  The story about Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann, remains a poignant one that translated well tonight, and the reference to his grandparents as members of the Greatest Generation a point well taken.  But it was the little glimpses we have seen in his own home life, in the reading of the Harry Potter books to his daughter, I think that really hits home.  I don’t know, the Harry Potter thing will probably stick with me because it’s relevant and specific.  Any political family can have canned photographs of some studio manufactured family moment, but I sometimes read the Harry Potter books to my own daughters…

Finally, there’s the setting that we see that revolves as the centerpiece to the program; the office setting with Obama sitting casually atop the desk with an American flag perched behind him.  There was a definite Oval Office quality to the setting which was undoubtedly an intentional play at the real thing.

Time and time again you kept going back to that setting, not in one prolonged stretch, but in little clips, almost as though intentionally the Obama team was gradually getting you used to envisioning Obama in the real Oval Office, talking to us, sharing a 21st century version of the fireside chat.

If nothing else, I think this was perhaps the smartest thing that Obama could do.  It gave the opportunity to many Americans to start thinking about Obama not just as someone they could possibly vote for, but someone they would feel comfortable serving as their president.

Of course anti-Obama partisans will nitpick and find things wrong with the program, this is to be expected especially considering that they are looking for anything and everything to throw at him.

But while I haven’t had my focus group opinion yet, I have already gotten several opinions outside my own, and each of them say this is money very well spent, which leads me only to ponder as to the political implications of this program.

I think this infomercial will most definitely yield positive short term gains.  I think it definitely is going to kill the news cycle tomorrow as all the pundits will want to have their shot, and pollsters put polls in the field in an attempt to measure the immediate results.

What will those pollsters find?  That could be hard to say, it’s difficult to measure the persuasiveness of a tool if you are already persuaded but the execution of the thing itself leads me to believe that this will solidify support for Obama among those who may have been leaning in his direction, and it may coax more fence sitters to his side of the fence than to McCain’s.

If this effect is large enough to be measured, that will reflect in the polls which will itself become a part of the news cycle and potentially carry us to the weekend.

There is room for backlash, though.  As I write this, I know there are McCain supporters who are dissecting the program in as many ways to do Obama harm, and they are going to try and hijack the news cycle.  I can’t say how successful they will be, but they are going to give it a shot.

But over all I do think this was money well spent, I do think this was a wise move, and I do think that a lot of Americans saw Obama deliver a very convincing and effective closing argument.

Oh, and one last point that I think may resonate more than anything else.  Obama mentioned once the last eight years.  He mentioned George W. Bush 0 times, and he mentioned John McCain 0 times.  For an electorate that is by now getting frustrated by the negativity coming from both campaigns, the decision to not go on the attack hardly at all was simply brilliant and it could put McCain in a tough spot.

Obama eschewed negativity, and in so doing could have framed the final days of the election in such a way that if McCain continues going negative it will only make him look small; too small for the times that we face.

6 Responses to “Obamercial Analysis”

  1. Cal says:

    It was about as compelling, interesting and informative as most informercials.

    And the whole fake Oval Office thing was embarrassing.
    “Look at me. I’m presidential!!!”
    Laughable.

  2. eds says:

    Pathetic and too long Oba-mercial
    ‘change’ kept coming like a broken reocrd
    Too many minorities and poor people shown
    Did not make me feel proud about America

  3. Phpil says:

    It was fantastic. It was moving in the right places and mundane in the right places.

    More than anything else, in my opinion, the entire goal of this spot was to show people that he is not any of the idiotic things the smear artists are saying about him… without even mentioning the smears. Just by showing who he is, he shows what he isn’t – which is all the crap the far right is trying to label him as.

    It was pretty perfect, really.

    I also agree about the Harry Potter moment sticking with you. I think the same can be said of wishing his mother could have lived to meet her grandkids. That resonates with almost everyone on some level.

    Personally, the moment that will stick with me is the old man whose 1500 dollar pension was reduced to 379 dollars. The look on his face when Obama told him he had earned that money was incredibly moving.

  4. olraya says:

    I think it showed how much of a thinker Obama is. This was very well thought out and executed magnificently. It made me very proud of being a supporter and I do feel that if I was an undecided I would probably be an Obama supporter at the end of the presentation. It was genuine, honest, relatable and very easily translateable to any demographic.

  5. radical_moderate says:

    The infomercial must have been effective, this is at least the second left leaning blog where the wing-nut trolls are out in force pooh-poohing it, LOL. I thought that the film was moving and well done. Needless to say, watching it reenforced my opinion that Obama is the sort of Visionary that we need to get the country back on track at this time in History. My favorite comment about Obama in the commercial was the simplest; it was when Bill Richardson stated quietly that Obama “is a good man.” A good man…high praise indeed.

  6. Dynamic says:

    eds – If poor people don’t make you feel proud about America, how about working to help improve their lot in life?

    If minorities don’t make you feel proud of America, well, you’ll have to address that in your own terms – and we’ll be here to help.

    I’m proud of what America stands for, and the ideals that this nation was built on. What I long for – and most of the rest of us do, as well – is a day in which we can be proud once again of this nation’s present actions, as well as its past triumphs.

    That day is not far off.

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