Stunningly Bad Political Advertising

Goodby Silverstein & Partners responded to the Adweek’s Campaign 08 Power Play challenge to convince their advertising colleagues with ads for Barack Obama and John McCain. They came up with what they call “Stunningly Bad”, two advertisements satirizing the use of prejudice, bias and fear in political advertising. The two ads, online at today’s site of the day, and, have recently been supplemented by a series of advertisements critiquing the McCain campaign alone.

Stunningly Bad

“Political ads are stunningly bad, artless, humorless, small-minded, negative and formulaic,” says Jamie Barrett, creative director and partner at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. Which is why, he explains, the team decided to “do what political advertising has done best, [which is to] use prejudice, bias and fear to great personal advantage.” One of his team’s ads has John McCain arguing that Barack Obama could be a terrorist from the Middle East, the other Obama exposing the “fact” that McCain is actually 174-years-old and, among other things, fought in the Spanish-American War. “We didn’t dig too deep for the two campaign strategies,” Barrett explains. “We just did what most voters do: We looked at pictures of the two candidates.” Two things leapt out at them, he says, which was McCain is old and Obama is not white. “Two attributes-sad, but true-that will cause certain people to vote against them,” Barrett adds. These spots, which can be seen at, would be posted on YouTube where “tens of millions of people will recognize their satirical quality and reevaluate how they consume political advertising,” says Barrett, “coming to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, they should pay less attention to the half-truths they see on commercials and think a little more for themselves.”

John McCain’s Experience

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Barack Obama’s Arab Connections

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The Stunningly Bad campaign was developed at Goodby Silverstein & Partners by creative director Jamie Barrett, art director Nick Spahr, and executive producer James Horner.

One Word – Maverick

Staff meeting held on September 18

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Staff meeting held on September 20. “Dinosaurs died 4000 years ago?”

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Staff meeting held on September 25.

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Too Far

Staff Meeting held on September 29. Karl Rove our moral barometer?

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via The Denver Egotist