This Is the Best Political Ad of the 2016 Campaign
This presidential race has produced more than a few spectacularly resonant campaign ads. Literally all of them were created by the Hillary Clinton campaign or an organization supporting her bid for the White House, but hey, it’s not her fault her opponent’s team is an incompetent turd squad who couldn’t turn footage of Hillary clubbing baby seals to death with a rolled up Bible into an effective attack ad.
Her “Role Models” spot brilliantly reminds voters that if enough people pull the lever for Trump they may one day have to explain his subhuman rhetoric to their children. “Mirrors,” perhaps the most devastating political commercial in a generation, features images of women examining their reflections overlaid with audio of Trump’s revolting sexist comments. And “War Hero,” which opens with video of Trump disparaging John McCain because “he got captured” before telling the story of Joel Sollender, a WWII Army POW who survived German captivity, will make even the most hardened American weep like an infant fresh from the womb. For real, if your face doesn’t start leaking when Sollender says, “My war was 70 years ago, and yesterday,” your operating system is broken and you should question the nature of your own reality.
Fun fact — if you’re wondering why her ads primarily feature actual Trump clips rather than the standard grave voiceover, it’s because when the campaign tested ads with a narrator reading Trump quotes verbatim the participants didn’t believe the statements were true. This seems senseless until you process it for a few seconds and realize it might actually be the sanest thing about this entire election.
But the most impactful ad so far may be this simple, “dialogue-free” spot created by Save The Day, the digital production company responsible for that Joss Whedon video where the Avengers promise a Mark Ruffalo helicopter dick post-credits scene in Infinity War if you vote, or something.
The premise is refreshingly simple: an anonymous woman sits in her cube on Election Day frantically trying to complete her work so she can get to her polling place and home to her family. Before she can leave, though, she endures inappropriate touching by a co-worker, watches as a male colleague is given a new office, contemplates how to balance family commitments with professional responsibilities (pause the video when she looks at her phone), stays late to finish her tasks, and is shoulder checked on the street. While all this is going on, soundbytes from Trump rallies act as the soundtrack, growing in volume and intensity until our heroine finally draws the voting booth curtain shut. The chaos stops. Blissful tranquility — even a flash of happiness — takes its place.
It’s perfect. The struggles women face on a daily basis condensed into a 90-second window, narrated by a monster who will exacerbate the problem, capped with a potential solution. Message-driven advertising isn’t done any better. It’s not cloying. It’s not patronizing. It’s not trying to sell you anything except democracy. It’s honest and relatable and topical and inspirational and should be required viewing between now and November.