Christine O'Donnell's Victory Formula

Christine O’Donnell has released her first TV ad of the general election campaign. Watch it:

What do you think?

Stacy McCain LOVES it:
With a smile like that, she’s awfully hard to hate. The Castle campaign tried to demonize her and it backfired. Maybe Baldy the Tax-Hiking Wanker will have better luck. I doubt it.

She may not be a witch, but you can’t deny she’s got magic.
Ace notes the emotional component:
She has a useful amount of sadness in her, of whippedness, that pushes the right emotional button. She was beaten up -- hard not feel sympathetic for someone beaten up.
McCain thinks the visual is more important than the verbal:
Forget the words. Just turn off the sound and look at it. The moment she flashes that first smile, the average person likes her. They can’t help it. It’s an autonomic response.

Whether “I like her” translates into “I want her to be Senator,” I can’t say.
My immediate impression was that this ad was eerily familiar.

In my neck of the woods, Bill Haslam has been running TV spots almost exactly like O'Donnell's new ad. In a competitive primary, Haslam won the GOP nod for Governor with those ads. The close, personal, down-to-earth, halting style ― apparently it works.

After five minutes on the Googletron 3000, my hunch was confirmed:
California-based Republican ad man Fred Davis signed a contract today with Delaware Senate Republican candidate Christine O'Donnell to craft her television ads for her general election battle against Democrat Chris Coons.

"We'll be doing something interesting, I hope," Davis told National Journal.

His firm, Strategic Perception Inc., is behind some of the GOP's most buzz-worthy ad spots in recent election cycles. It has produced two viral hits of 2010 so far: the "Demon Sheep" ad for California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina and the "Worst President in History" ad for Arizona Republican House candidate Ben Quayle.
Strategic Perception Inc. also produces ads for Bill Haslam.

For comparison:

No one can deny that Christine O'Donnell has a steep hill to climb on her way to the November 2 finish line, but I think her new TV ad shows that her proven ability to defy the odds is not just luck.


  1. Something moved right up my leg and I just knew it was time to pull the lever.

  2. I worried when I saw the "I'm not a witch..." that she was putting the idea into the heads of voters, that the very act of refuting the comment would only further pin its silliness to her for good - but I think the rest of the ad effectively neutralizes the accusation. Deftly done.

    It's good that the ad is sober, reserved, and adult. She NEEDS to come across that way. I think she did that, very well.

    The big problem I had was her last two cents, so to speak - when she said "I'm you." That clanged off my ears and seemed hokey. She had already sad that two times - the third time seemed like an ad. All that prior to it seemed smart and subdued. That last two words yanked me out of the ad and spoiled the authenticity of it for me.

    What is interesting is that I am not a conservative - I am one of the Moonbats who thinks her a ridiculous candidate, a buffoon. Perhaps that will mean something to those on the other side of aisle - because I was genuinely curious about how she would seem in the ad and I think it was well done. That line: "I'm nothing that you've heard about me," paraphrasing, was nice. She acknowledges the rumors and dismisses them in the same breath. Efficient, mature.

    While overall I am a tough sell because some her comments were quite recent (the human brains in mice one, for example, was in 2007!) this ad took much of the absurdity of her persona away.

    I actually like ads for adults. I wish the whole process was this relaxed and rational. Ah well.

    Overall, good ad, bad ending.

  3. Hm, Effective ad. She needed that.

    Now the question is which O'Donnell will arrive in Washington if elected?

    I'm a skeptic by nature, but hoping it is the mature one.

  4. Can you say "transformational?" Compare this ad to 30-second spots by the DSCC and NRSC:

    Finally, we are seeing Republicans go for the emotional component rather than the issue component. I like it!


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