ANDY MARTIN: Alexi Giannoulias is running a poor campaign for the U. S. Senate
Illinois political expert Andy Martin explains why Alexi Giannoulias is running a weak campaign for the U. S. Senate. Martin says Giannoulias has failed to capitalize on Mark Kirk’s character flaws and is probably allowing Kirk to ambush G in October. “To paraphrase Casey Stengel who said ‘Can anyone here play this game?’ can anyone in Giannoulias’ campaign run an aggressive campaign against Mark Kirk?” Andy asks. Andy has been producing TV and radio ads for over forty years.
Illinois political expert Andy Martin questions the flaccid performance of Alexi Giannoulias’ advertising
Martin says Giannoulias must talk directly to the people/audience if he expects to win
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Andy Martin says Alexi Giannoulias is running a terrible advertising campaign for U. S. Senator
Martin says Mark Kirk’s ads are much more effective than Giannoulias’
Martin may comment on Christine O’Donnell’s disastrous ad
(CHICAGO)(October 6, 2010) I’m in New York to see a Broadway play, review senate races in New York and New England and provide some national perspective on the upcoming election.
Of course I’m watching a lot of television. Today we often see political ads in small computer “windows” on web sites. Seeing an advertisement as it actually pops up on a TV screen is obviously a different experience.
Republican Linda McMahon is running a very effective series of ads for the U. S. Senate in Connecticut. The Connecticut race is particularly interesting because it features an issue in common with Illinois—a lying candidate who exaggerated his military career and sought to steal the valor of brave heroes for his own political aggrandizement. Mark Kirk, meet Richard Blumenthal.
Watching Giannoulias’ ads on Chicago TV and comparing them to Kirk’s efforts leaves me with the distinct impression Kirk’s ads are much better than G’s.
Here I must make the “full disclosure” that I am actively opposing Kirk’s election to the senate. I am no friend of Mark Kirk, have no intention of voting for him although I will be voting a straight Republican ticket (with the exception of Kirk), and believe Kirk is unfit for any public office because of his military misrepresentations.
I am also conscious of the fact that Illinois voters don’t like either candidate. Kirk has schmutzed-up Giannoulias with attacks on G’s former family bank. Giannoulias has run some mildly effective ads against Kirk.
Visiting my mother in Florida I have also watched ads for Marco Rubio, the Republican running for the U. S. Senate. Marco Rubio makes very effective use of his immigrant roots and connects his family history to the American Dream. Giannoulias’ spots are nowhere near the quality and effectiveness of Rubio’s ads.
In my opinion, Giannoulias’ ads are the weakest of the four. Here are my reasons.
First, it is a truism that when voters don’t trust a candidate, he or she must speak directly to the voters. Look’em in the eye. Voters don’t really want Kirk or Giannoulias. But Kirk’s most recent disclaimer says he will “spend less, tax less…” He delivers it well. Frankly, it’s an effective disclaimer. Giannoulias’ disclaimer is a wide shot of Giannoulias and Obama. Very weak.
Giannoulias has a great story to tell. He’s not telling it. His ads look as though they are being mass produced on an assembly line.
I have been producing TV and radio ads, and especially negative ads, for over forty years. So I know of what I speak.
First, let’s look at the “Mob banker” issue. What has Giannoulias done to counter this smear? Nothing. How’s this for an ad:
I’m Alexi Giannoulias and I approved this ad
because Illinois voters deserve the truth
about Mark Kirk’s lies.
My family immigrated to America and lived
the American Dream. We worked hard, saved,
and in time mom and dad founded (purchased?) a small bank.
My family grew the bank by making loans in the
local community. Together they prospered.
Then Mark Kirk’s greedy Wall Street campaign
contributors threw our economy into a
tailspin. Like any bank, some loans went sour. Kirk’s New
York moneymen could care less about Illinois;
Mark Kirk’s moneymen simply broke the bank when it could have worked its way out of the recession.
Mark Kirk’s money men: bad for Illinois, bad for your local neighborhood bank.
This ad has two benefits. First it rebuts Kirks attacks on Giannoulias’ bank and places the bank’s failure in perspective. Wall Street engineered a financial collapse to seize money that had been saved up on Main Street. Wall Street is as fat and sassy as ever (I see it in New York; Broadway is sold out, the expensive restaurants are packed). Main Street, Illinois is suffering. Badly.
Second, the ad allows Giannoulias to address the voters face-to-face. (You can see I like face-to-face ads.) Bottom line: If Giannoulias does not start making ads that speak directly to voters, he’s a sure loser.
Gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott was smeared by the Republican establishment in Florida. Scott’s former company had been caught in a $1 billion plus Medicare scandal. Scott faced the voters in his ads—and won the primary. Giannoulias has to face reality, and adopt an aggressive strategy to counter Kirk. Scott knocked off a well-established party favorite. Kirk, on the other hand, is disliked by Illinois voters.
Let’s try a second ad.
I’m Alexi Giannoulias and I approved this ad
because Illinois voters deserve the truth
about Mark Kirk.
Over the past ten years Mark Kirk lied
repeatedly about his military service. Kirk
claimed to have fought in wars where he
never served, and won medals that don’t exist.
Kirk dishonored his military uniform. What
kind of a man would do that?
As your Illinois State Treasurer you trust
me with your state revenues every day. I have a
record of honesty and integrity you count on,
every day. Mark Kirk’s lies, or my proven record
of performance? The choice is yours. I ask you
to choose me based on the fact I have already
proven you can trust me.
Once again, Giannoulias puts a spin on Kirk and drives a nail through Kirk’s lies. Because Giannoulias delivers the ad himself, the presentation gains force and credibility. Then, when G segues into his own performances (“trusted me with your state revenues”) voters are ready to choose G’s proven performance. After all, G is a state official who handles the cash. What better kind of trust can you show? Do you find this anywhere in Giannoulias’ ads? Nope.
Giannoulias is blowing the opportunity to prepare the voters for Kirk’s likely smear campaign in October.
The two short ads that I knocked out in maybe a minute each present Giannoulias in a positive light. They show you how Giannoulias could improve his performance by answering Kirk’s lies, and why G is falling so far short of Kirk in the advertising competition.
Take a look at Linda McMahon’s new ad:
The “If I get to it” department:
I predicted Christine O’Donnell would win the Delaware U. S. Senate seat. Hmmm. She is an exceptionally attractive woman with a great story to tell. Her first ad, “I’m not a witch,” is a big disappointment. What idiot is producing her commercials? If I get the time, and I’m not too busy on Broadway (but please don’t call me “Broadway Andy,”) I’ll provide some remarks. O’Donnell’s ad is a disaster. She needs Andy to produce local “Delaware friendly” advertising for her campaign. O’Donnell has the money; she’s blowing her great opportunity.
ABOUT ANDY: Andy Martin, who Chicago Public Radio calls a “boisterous Internet activist,” is the legendary New York and Chicago-based muckraker, author, Internet columnist, radio talk show host, broadcaster and media critic. He has over forty years of background in radio and television and is the dean of Illinois media and communications. He promotes his best-selling book, “Obama: The Man Behind The Mask” and his Internet movie “Obama: The Hawai’i years.” Martin has been a leading corruption fighter in Illinois for over forty years. He is currently sponsoring http://www.AmericaisReadyforReform.com
Andy is the Executive Editor and publisher of the “Internet Powerhouse,” http://www.ContrarianCommentary.com. He comments on regional, national and world events with more than four decades of investigative and overseas experience. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law and is a former adjunct professor of law at the City University of New York (LaGuardia CC, Bronx CC).
Andy’s columns are also posted at ContrarianCommentary.blogspot.com; contrariancommentary.wordpress.com.
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