Friday, February 5, 2010

Carly Fiorina and remedial classes in political campaign advertising

As an aficionado of storytelling and advertising, I'm alternately fascinated by/repulsed by political advertising. And there's a Senate race that catches my attention right now.

I want to like Carly Fiorina--I really do. She's the former head of Hewlett-Packard, a cancer survivor, and now a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from California. This is a lady of real accomplishment.

And yet her new 3 1/2-minute campaign ad has become a viral hit for the wrong reasons. Where to begin... the animal motif, the decision to devote so much attention to her opponent, the freakish man/sheep at the 2:26 mark, the lack of information about Fiorina herself, and the underwhelming amount of time given to her ideas as a candidate.

She has so many weapons at her disposal, but her campaign chose to air a laughably-produced attack ad? Please. With a new candidate--even one with a distinguished career in the computer industry--there's an education process involved. The public has to get to know her.

And this is exactly where you use her life story as a weapon. She has the guts to outlast a deadly illness. She's an overachiever. And she's a breath of fresh air (read: change) for a state with a longtime Democratic senator.

Hmmm, I seem to remember a certain president riding the concept of change all the way to the White House. Now it's time for Ms. Fiorina to position herself as a change agent with a compelling life story.

1 comment:

  1. The problem is that she can't run on her record because her record is one of disaster -- she drove Lucent into the ground, then almost destroyed HP. This is a woman who hired private investigators to investigate her own Board of Directors, and only barely managed avoiding arrest herself for misdeeds she authorized them to do. We hate her guts here in the Silicon Valley and bells rang, "ding dong the *itch is gone" when her incompetent imperious lying criminal behind was fired from Hewlett Packard. I mean, she was going to sell the PRINTER DIVISION, the only division of HP that was actually profitable by the time she ran the rest of HP into the ground! If the Board hadn't fired her when it did, there would be no HP today.

    But there is method to her madness. Tom Campbell is from the Silicon Valley and will probably get 80% of the vote here. Attack ads depress the vote. Perhaps she intends to pour attack ads into the Silicon Valley to discourage people from voting who would otherwise vote Anyone But Carly. Thing is, I don't think calling your voters "sheep" is going to endear you to them...