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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Scott/Steve, Don't Hype the Ad: Hype Frankenfeld and Janklow for Heidepriem!

Democratic candidate for South Dakota governor Scott Heidepriem has a new TV ad up. My one problem with this ad: it spends too much time pitching the next big ad, Heidepriem's half-hour program coming up next week, and not enough time pitching the candidate. I've noticed that problem in a number of the communications from Team Heidepriem: they tell me their ads are historic and unprecedented and are getting great reviews. I really couldn't give less of a hoot how good the ads are: we're trying to win an election, not a Pollie. Heidepriem's marketers seem to have overread or misread Marshall McLuhan and think that the man is the message is the medium.

Either that, or they're just full of themselves.

That said, the new ad has the elements of an even better, truly rock'em-sock'em ad: apparent endorsements from former Republican legislator Don Frankenfeld and Republican attorney Russ Janklow:

Holy cow! Getting Frankenfeld and Janklow fils to endorse the Democratic candidate for governor is pretty strong cheese. Or at least I think they're endorsing Heidepriem. They're in the ad—they must like him... right?

This ad shows us Frankenfeld and Janklow telling us South Dakota has a huge fiscal problem. But only former Democratic Governor Harvey Wollman makes the sale, saying we need to "put in a new team." But none of those guys says the magic word: Heidepriem, Heidepriem, Heidepriem.

If I had money for 30 seconds of TV time, and I had video of Don Frankenfeld and Russ Janklow saying good things about me, I'd fill that thirty seconds with every word I could from those big name endorsers. And I'd leave no doubt as to whom those guys were voting for. I'd make darn sure I included the tape of each of those heavy hitters saying my name and saying they're voting for me.

I hope that's what we'll hear in next week's half-hour extravanganza. Direct endorsements from such prominent Republicans really would be newsworthy.
p.s.: Take this blog post and even the headline as textual metaphor for the marketing argument. Imagine how much better (for Team Heidepriem) this post would be if it started off with the real news—Frankenfeld and Janklow Endorse Heidepriem! Instead, in an ad-centered world, the marketing analysis gets the lead, and the juicy stuff gets second billing.

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