A Tale of Two Attack Ads

Now that the primary season is likely over, it’s time for the two presumptive nominees to start taking shots at each other. Let’s take a quick look at the opening salvos, shall we?

We’ll start with the anti-Trump ad:

Above: An anti-Trump ad that won’t win over the hearts of misogynists.

The content is solid, but the presentation is uninspired. Sure, the quotes from Trump are shockingly sexist and pig-ignorant, but the “serious women reading them against a white background” is saying “you must be offended by this” and I think there are better avenues to pursue. What about a Trump impersonator reading the quotes, with a cheerfully animated version of Trump on the screen acting out what he’s saying: Making fun of Megyn Kelly’s period, neglecting children, and fantasizing about blow-jobs? Paint Trump as a clueless doofus at best and a predator at worst. I’d give this one a C+. Good content, uninspired visuals.

Now for the fun one! The anti-Clinton ad:

Above: The cut-and-paste method of creating a “conversation” made famous by James O’Keefe

This is the polar opposite of the anti-Trump ad. The content is ridiculous it almost undermines the inspired visuals. Trump, of all people, is saying that we shouldn’t turn America into a punch line?


Above: Donald Trump not turning America into a punchline.

And facing down America’s tough opponents? This is the same guy who shit his pants at the thought of having to face Megyn Kelly in a debate on Fox friggin’ News. So, logically speaking, it’s an incredibly stupid ad. But, as we’ve discussed, this is an election cycle that he rewarded candidates saying incredibly stupid things. Sure, there’s not rational relationship between Clinton barking and Putin laughing, but it’s a funny sequence of images and I think the ad works on that level. I’d give this one a B+ for effectiveness despite being stupid.

Another interesting difference is that the anti-Clinton ad is apparently coming directly from the Trump campaign, whereas the anti-Trump one is coming from a third party. Traditionally, candidates like to have a little distance between themselves and their attack ads (see: Swift Boat Veterans For Sale). This little wrinkle may help reinforce the “Trump says what he really thinks” fantasy.

So, we’re off to a pretty good start. I know the gloves probably won’t come off until the summer, but if the early ads are any indication, this is going to be a memorable campaign.

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