Wednesday, September 21, 2016


I'm not the target demographic, never having been a huge Buffy fan or a fan of Joss Whedon's movies, but I gather I'm supposed to be excited that Whedon is reaching out to The Kids with this ad:

Whedon has founded the pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC Save the Day and donated $1 million toward helping her beat Donald Trump in the presidential election. Instead of going on the defensive, Whedon is focusing on encouraging people to vote through a series of star-studded online videos....

The team is currently at work on more than 10 videos and plans to make between 15 and 25 before the election. It launches today with a spoof of a traditional campaign ad, called “Important,” that is jam-packed with A-listers, including Neil Patrick Harris and Avengers stars Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo.
Am I reading this ad wrong? To me it doesn't come off as a spoof of a traditional ad -- it comes off as a traditional ad. I see the nodding and winking, but it's 2016, folks, and there's nodding and winking in traditional ads, too. The winks and nods don't help -- the ad still reads like every other earnest, stutter-rhythmed, multiple-talking-head ad you've ever seen that features famous people urging the viewer to do the right thing. Even as it mocks the traditional format, it adheres so closely to it that it's indistinguishable from what it's allegedly spoofing, which is an ad style that I feel I've been seeing for about twenty years now, always presented as if it's still "cutting edge."

Will it work? I hope so. I hope people watch past the first minute, which is just the usual appeal to viewers to vote, darn it, because it's important. Only after minute number one is there any allusion to the horror of Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton is never mentioned at all. This ad might just inspire viewers to vote for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, or to write in Bernie Sanders.

Even though it's meant to be a send-up of multi-celebrity ads, a multi-celebrity ad is what it ultimately is. It's just an ad about celebrities being celebrities. It's jokey and clever and "ironic" and forgettable. Maybe that's what will get through to The Kids. But I have my doubts.


The new ad by third- (fifth?-)party presidential candidate Evan McMullin obviously isn't going to get anyone to vote for Clinton, but it's the kind of thing Clinton or a pro-Clinton super PAC should be doing. I think the Hillary Clinton "Role Models" ad is an effective spot ...

But it probably works better with parents than with younger voters, who might regard it as just a prissy critique of foul language. That's why I'd have liked to see an ad like this from Clinton or her allies:

Evan McMullin’s presidential campaign has taken a racist tirade recently left in a staffer’s voicemail inbox and turned it into a political ad highlighting the dangers of “Donald Trump’s America.”

The ad, which will air online in select markets, features a recording of a personal cell phone message campaign spokeswoman Rina Shah received after appearing on Fox News last Friday.

“You frothing, libtard piece of shit Islamic dog,” the caller, identified only as “Alan,” is heard saying in the ad, while a transcript of his rant runs along the bottom of the screen. “Vote for the pathological lying criminal you fucking piece of shit … and get out of our country … while you’re at it, got back and get fucked by your dirtbag Islamic terror scum friends. Slut.”
This ad is plain and unpolished. It's a punch in the gut. It reminds us that Trumpism isn't just about a buffoonish blowhard who may or may not be able to back up his belligerent words -- it's about millions of angry people who are being told it's okay for them to intimidate people who aren't white or Christian or male.

I think it's safe to assume that people in Clinton World have received messages like this. I say make them public. Maybe the raw abuse directed at Clinton and her allies would get through to voters who don't regard themselves as thugs but believe it's amusing to attack Clinton. If nothing else, it would remind the world of politics that all this isn't about "economic anxiety," or whatever the hell we're supposed to believe -- it's about rage.


Victor said...


I'm old.
I didn't know ONE of the supposed famous people!

I guess I need to get out more...

Charon04 said...

Buffy was 1997 to 2003, Angel and Dollhouse almost as old.

Joss isn't really talking to the Youngs.

Kathy said...

I'm not in the target demographic, but I love the Whedon video. Of course, I pretty much love all things Whedon, and the MCU, for that matter. Don't worry, Steve, I still like you too. :-)

Feud Turgidson said...

You know, Steve - we don't have to choose ...
from among these ads, at least.

Also, I doubt anyone here, our genial host with the posts not excluded, can say with any cred what will or will not resonate wid da yutes of today. If the kind of 'talent' able to get that right on demand actually existed, then people would have a much more reliable record in deliberately contriving viral vids.

BroD said...

I watched the Whedon video--the message seemed to be that they were all very pleased with themselves. I prefer political ads that make a political point.

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