Attack Yourself

PBS Newshour has worked with Mozilla to create Ad Libs 2012, a website that allows you to create your own campaign commercial.  It shows the simple formulas behind campaign advertising. As you work on your ad, you can check out ads from previous Presidential campaigns and see how closely they follow the formula. You can make a biographical or an attach ad, both about yourself.  Because it’s linked to Facebook, you can choose your own photos or wall posts. They also provide generic selections but considering how some of my posts might sound in ads was a bit of a revelation.

The National Constitution Center sponsors Ad-O-Matic. I created one:

I was a little annoyed that women were not on the list of issues.  You might want to also check out the Constitution Center’s website for other resources.

Perhaps the biggest (and saddest) lesson of these create-your-own-ad websites is how little information we actually get from campaign ads.  A couple slogans, some canned photos, and you get an ad, something that the candidates will spend $3 billion on this year.  There is some disagreement as to whether or not they really work to change anyone’s mind except perhaps the swing voters who may not decide on their vote until they are standing in line at the polls.  And it is those approximately 4% of voters in 6 states who will ultimately decide this election.  Research into political ads doesn’t focus on swing voters in particular so it’s hard to tell how they decide…let’s hope it isn’t based on political advertisements!


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