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October 11, 2014      12:20 PM

HK: Wheelchair now part of Abbott brand; Davis seeks to tell rest of story

Do first 8 seconds of ad undermine remaining 22 seconds or compel viewer attention?; the Democrat's strategic goals

All high profile political campaigns are about manufactured outrage and the Abbott-Davis dustup is no different.  Today’s manufactured outrage du jour is that the underdog Davis Campaign actually used a photo of a wheelchair in the first half dozen seconds of a TV campaign ad.

Never mind that the Republican nominee has turned his wheel chair into part of his political brand underscoring an authentically heroic overcoming of adversity.  But if the wheel chair is part of the Abbott brand it is also fair game – a legitimate metaphor for her version of the rest of his story.    In the real world of politics, the only question is whether the first few seconds grab and hold the undecided viewer long enough to hear the rest of the message and whether that message moves their vote.

It is particularly amusing to read the outrage from fellow pundits; all of whom have seen and heard enough political sleaze, distortion and downright false claims in political campaigns to know there is nothing particularly extraordinary or outrageous about this ad.  Who knew their sensibilities were so delicate?

Abbott’s media buys for the next month will bury Davis.  So first and foremost, the ad is intended to drive earned media for a campaign that has been financially competitive but still fundamentally the dollar underdog.   It is obvious the first mission has been accomplished. The TV spot has dominated the news since its release.  Time will tell whether that is a good thing or bad. 

By Harvey Kronberg