By Victoria Sobolev
Amid the mixed emotions felt by Americans earlier this week, when the Republicans retook control of the senate, one question I asked myself, “which candidate had the best ad campaign?” Since there were 33 senators up for re-election this year, the American people all around the country were surrounded by their campaign advertisements. No matter where you turned– TV, radio or YouTube– you saw the face of a candidate beaming at you, promising to solve all your problems. Although all political advertisements are based on the same concept of showing how the candidate is superior to his competition, each politician had a different technique of doing this. I am going to focus on the Illinois candidates, Dick Durbin and Jim Oberweis, since their campaign affected U of I students the most.
Democrat and senate veteran Dick Durbin won the senate seat once again, thanks in part to an advertisement that did not focus on him as most traditional political ads do. Instead, he had an Illinois resident describe her struggle of caring for her husband after he was injured in Afghanistan. The resident then proceeded to praise Dick Durbin for passing legislation that facilitates care for her husband. This ad stood out from those of his competitors because it focused on how his legislation helped his constituents He led by example. It is a slice of daily life style ad, with pathos from a loving wife caring for the injured American hero. From a creative standpoint, however, the ad left more to be desired because the dialogue, setting and film quality were rather mediocre. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugdwmRETIcs
Repbulcian competitor Jim Oberweis ran a very different ad. Unlike Durbin’s slice of life ad, Oberwise’s ad was reminiscent of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s fireside chats, with him sitting down against a plain background speaking to his audience. The ad was dry and completely devoid of any creativity in its script or aesthetics. Oberweis’s closing statement, “If you like my ice cream, you’ll love me as your US senator” was in my opinion a failed attempt at humor. While both ads were lacking in the creative and originality department, there were a few major differences that should be noted. First, Durbin’s ad did not focus entirely on him or his reelection platform, while Oberweis’ ad was the exact opposite. Durbin focused on how he helped his constituents, while Oberweis was unable to do so given his experience.
Although both of these ads leave more to be desired in the creative department, they have been effective in persuading Illinois residents to vote.