OMT One Man's Trash...from Norman Leahy

Thursday, September 21, 2006 :::

About That Ad

The "Dark Ride" ad has been floating around the blogs for at least a week or more. Now, the easily shocked have started looking at it and, well, are shocked by it all.

I haven't given it much thought before now -- independent ads usually are thin on substance and poorly made. Thanks to Not Buck, I finally watched the whole thing.

It's tough and well made (though I do wonder if Chris Isaak will object to the use of "Wicked Game" as the background/narrative. It's an inspired choice, however).

In many ways, it's just as tough as the Vote Vets body armor ad which has been running in some Virginia markets. While this ad is designed specifically to run on television and the "Dark Ride" video is an internet production, they both slap the other guy right in the mouth. And while the Vote Vets ad has been debunked by, looked at purely from a creative standpoint, it serves it's purpose very well.

And so is the "Dark Ride" piece. Its use of quotes and images is startling and effective, particularly in showing the compromises Jim Webb seems to have made in the pursuit of office.

The point of greatest controversy comes at the very end, where the image of a distressed American flag is placed above the words "the D stands for defeat." Again, this is very tough stuff. And the question is whether it crosses the line from hard-edged to "swift boating."

That is in the eyes of the beholder. For Webb supporters, the entire video, but especially the last frames, is nothing more than a dirty trick designed to sully Webb's gallantry and service to the nation. And if someone were to watch the ad, and yet not know of Webb's service or his heroism under fire, that would be a fair point.

Conversely, those who support Allen will and have said this is one of the best pieces they've seen. And they are right, too. It is very well done and does make it abundantly clear, particularly for those who are aware of Webb's background, that he has made some enormous compromises in his pursuit of office.

But is it fair? Again...that largely depends through which partisan prism you watch the video. But for me, those last frames were unnecessary -- a case of needless creative excess. The case was already made. The point was already very clear. There was no need to take it any further. In fact, an understated close may have made it much stronger.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 9/21/2006 2 comments


"You know what the fellow said: In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they also produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love -- they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." -- Orson Welles, The Third Man

"The graveyards are full of indespensable men" -- Charles de Gaulle

"Oh, so Mother Nature needs a favor? Well maybe she should have thought of that when she was besetting us with droughts and floods and poison monkeys. Nature started the fight for survival and now she wants to quit because she's losing. Well I say, hard cheese!" -- Montgomery Burns

"Don't pretend that you know me...cause I don't even know myself" -- The Who

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