Well, I think we can stop taking submissions for Worst TV Ad of 2014 (Vermont Regional). Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!
That’s a screengrab from the new TV ad for Dan Feliciano, Libertarian candidate for Governor.
At least I think it’s an ad for Feliciano, not a bit of inspired trollery by the Scott Milne campaign. Because the ad does nothing to advance Feliciano’s cause; indeed, it highlights his status as an underfunded, politically inexperienced, minor-party candidate.
How bad is it? Let me count the ways.
The entire 30-second ad consists of one continuous shot of Feliciano reciting his favorite talking points. His voice is too fast, he’s too brightly lit and uncomfortably close*, his face does a bunch of weird things, his closing smile is off-putting. It was clearly done on the cheap.
*It’s never a good thing if a viewer’s first instinct is to recoil from the screen.
The script is poorly written; his first line is “Like you, I believe our best days are ahead.” And then, without the slightest pause, he ticks off all the ways our state is going to hell:
3,000 fewer jobs. Out of control spending. Increasing poverty, low wages, high taxes, and government-controlled health care are alarming.
Wait, you just said something about “our best days”. WTF?
The parade of imagined horrors out of the way, he instantly pivots to his pitch:
I’m Dan Feliciano. I have the experience to reverse these trends by taking a fresh look at government.
When you vote, think new. Think better. It’s time to vote for experience and not party. Vote Feliciano for Governor. Our best days can be ahead, and I’ll be there with you.
Queasy smile, fade to black.
Wait, “experience”? Not once but twice?
Most viewers have never heard of this guy or seen his face before. How are they supposed to buy him as “experienced”?
I understand that there’s no time for a resume in a 30-second spot, but you can’t just come in and throw “experience” around as a credential for a virtual unknown. Also, how can you pitch “new” and “experience” in the same breath?
It’s a political truism that TV exposure is a necessity. In this case, the more people see this spot, the fewer votes Feliciano will get.
And now, in case you thought I was exaggerating about his face doing weird things, here are a few screengrabs taken more or less randomly in one viewing.
p.s. That last one is Feliciano’s attempt at a smile. Yikes.
The sad thing is, he really is quite a bit more personable than this. Which makes it even more of an insult to the fine art of advertising.