by Joseph Weisenthal

This Ad Not Approved By The Candidate, Therefore We Can Say Whatever The Hell We Want

from the attack-2.0 dept

Most political attack ads look about the same: blurry picture of the candidate, out-of-context quote on the screen and foreboding music. Yet even though you'd think we'd be immune to them by now, since we've seen so many, they remain the bread and butter of American political races. Well, the attack ad is becoming the latest form of media to go down the user-created route. A new site lets anyone create them using stock video footage, and an easy drag-and-drop editing system. Users can then add text and music, to give it just the right touch. And though it might seem pointless, there could be a useful purpose of web-based supporter-created ads. In typical TV-based ads, candidates like to hit on the big issues of the day, so that their message resonates with most of the viewers, giving them the most bang for the buck. A 30 second spot doesn't leave much room for issues that appeal to small niche of voters, like, say, the gambling ban or a politician's stance on net neutrality. But just as the internet helps expand long tail possibilities in many other areas, so too could it in political advertising. There's another reason why this kind of thing might take off. Often, there are some topics that a candidate just won't touch in an ad, like if their opponent had some very embarrassing personal incident. Going after that usually just makes the attacking candidate look bad. But when fringe third parties can do the advertising, candidates can distance themselves from the attack -- triangulating, as they call it. So from this angle, cheap technology to make and distribute ads may pave the way for a new level of political nastiness.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    dorpus, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 9:03am

    Asian style sabotage?

    In Japan/Korea, internet activists like publishing personal details of people in the media spotlight -- their phone numbers, addresses, medical records, detailed information about their family and employees, etc. Quite a few politicians and celebrities have had their reputations ruined this way. Some web sites also give tips on how to sabotage the mainstream media by heckling journalists or passing on false information. American hacktivism strikes me as relatively tame by comparison.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 10:41am

    Re: Asian style sabotage?

    are you saying that unlike in America (as this article is referring to) & many other countries, respect for others and basic human decently does not exist in Japan?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Asia's Awesomeness Abounds!, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 12:02pm

    Ruin Republicans Racketeering Reputations

    If Americans could get away with such activities a new industry trend will flourish, much the same way reality tv took off. Although I wouldn't want strangers to have info on me that I didn't have. Dentists, doctors, FBI, etc don't share what they have on me to me and that is cause for concern! Secrets, secrets...
    Politicians are scum, no decent person would even try to to go through that nonsense. Only those persons who can keep their mind on the jackpot that is taxpayer's earnings can endure the bullshit long enough to win the election.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 12:33pm

    So now...

    is the time to be taken on as a volunteer in someone's political campaign. I say volunteer and not hire because (I think) it would be a little harder to trace back to a volunteer than a on the books employee.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Saragon, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 12:37pm

    Not to mention its teaching potential

    It's a staple of the educational system: Doing teaches much more than watching. Teachers know this; that's why interactive teaching is so important in the classroom. Same rules apply here. This drag-and-drop, create-your-own advertising doesn't just hit niches -- it gives people time (and time far beyond the usual 30 seconds of a TV ad) to really learn and listen to the gory details of an opponent's negative talking points. Someone who's made their own ad focusing on a couple of points will have internalized those points -- and others passed over -- much more than someone who has to sit through a 30-second TV spot that's interrupting the new "Lost" episode.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 1:16pm

    I know this will never happen but I would like to someday see a mud-slinging free race. One where oponents appear in the same ad, with what they've voted on, their main promises for the coming term they are running for and then leave it to the voters to decide who's best for the job this time around.

    If only honesty and decency could prevail in one election of significance, I would be a happy camper.

    Sadly this won't happen until I destroy mankind and rebuild it in my image...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    shableep, Nov 1st, 2006 @ 1:44pm

    Honesty can easily sound like "mud-slinging" sometimes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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