October 25, 2011

The Cain Smoking Man Ad and Rush Limbaugh

Last night on Twitter there was a brief flurry over the latest Herman Cain Ad.  The controversy is over the "smoking man" at the end of the clip.  But I really don't think that's the problem.


Blowing smoke is clearly not politically correct.  In the current GOP primary environment that might actually be a selling point. The edits are no better than I could do with Windows Movie Maker (and that's not saying much).  Again, in this anti-big government, anti-big-business climate in the country, maybe a small budget effort is the right note to hit. Sure, it's a defiant ad and in a subtle way too. That will appeal to many independent-minded voters.

But there are other, more visceral issues with the ad:

(1) Block is not engaging. He comes across as someone you wouldn't trust. It's got nothing to do with the smoking (although that may indeed be the case for many people). He just seems like he belongs in a back room somewhere, scheming away.

(2) The unpolished nature of the ad in and of itself will also not appeal to many people who expect slick presentations along the lines of movie preview trailers. It almost hints that Cain doesn't have enough money to do things right to compete in the primaries.

(3) Who the heck is Block? Why him? What can he offer in insight and charisma that Cain can't do himself? Use Cain. Use a supporter. Don't use the campaign staff. Who cares that the campaign is doing things that Block hasn't seen before? Really, who is he, and why should I care what he thinks? He's being paid by Cain.

Allahpundit at Hot Air likes the in your face style, but I think this really does more harm than good. Or at the very least does not do any good.

The most interesting thing I heard about this video was from Thom Mozloom (a Democrat-leaning media expert) who said this morning on POTUS on XM radio that the ad would be rolled out on the Rush Limbaugh show today. That's the right audience. Interestingly for most of Rush's listeners there will obviously be no video to see during the show. That may create an entirely different impression a la the Kennedy Nixon debates on radio versus TV. We'll see. Will Rush bring up the smoking? Probably, he's a cigar guy. He'll probably like it. So that's likely a great move by Cain.

My concern for Cain is just that this probably isn't the best ad for his money. Then again it has the punditry talking, and maybe that was the plan all along.
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