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Killing me softly

The winner of the Willy Horton Prize for the most obnoxious political ad of this election season goes to Mark Green's New York City mayoral campaign team for the soon-to-be infamous "Kill it! Kill it!" spot, created by Trippi, McMahon & Squier, Washington, D.C. This apparent last-minute act of desperation sunk the campaign faster than Mayor Rudy Giuliani's endorsement of opponent Mike Bloomberg. The spot informs listeners about a sexual-harassment suit against Bloomberg, in which the mayor-elect allegedly told an employee of his media company that she should terminate her pregnancy with extreme prejudice. "`Kill it! Kill it!' According to court documents, that's what Mike Bloomberg told a female employee when she informed him that she was pregnant," the sinister voice-over relates. "Whether you're pro-choice or pro-life, that's something you might want to consider before making Mike Bloomberg our mayor." In fairness, the Bloomberg campaign lobbed a few million dollars worth of bone-headed spots at Green, including one that featured a sound bite of Green claiming that he could've handled Sept. 11 as well as Rudy and another featuring anti-Green quotes from fellow Democrats such as Chuck Schumer, uttered during the primaries. Steve McMahon, partner at Trippi, tells Adages that Green's staff wanted to put out the "Kill it!" spot and others that pointed a finger at Bloomberg's numerous sexual-harassment cases much earlier in the campaign, but Green nixed them. Then around Nov. 4, when it was apparent his 16-point lead was evaporating to zero, Green gave the green light for one ad. "These are facts," says Steve. "Bloomberg has four sexual-harassment cases against him. We could've run one spot for each case weeks before the election, and that may have changed everything. But we didn't." McMahon attributes Bloomberg's win to the candidate's huge campaign spend, which he predicts will top $65 million when the smoke clears, and Giuliani's endorsement. "Anyone who thinks the election was decided on one negative spot that appeared at the very end of a campaign just doesn't know what he is talking about."

A Rudy awakening

Meanwhile, on the heels of his success as a shill for the Bloomberg campaign, Rudy Giuliani should consider his options as a Madison Avenue pitchman. Will he appear in a Super Bowl spot touting Cialis, a male impotence drug that Eli Lilly will put out next year to compete with Viagra? That would pit Rudy against Bob Dole. Or what about a Victoria's Secret spot featuring Rudy in fishnets and a teddy? The best bet: Visa check card. Why? Rudy already is working with Visa's agency BBDO on a New York tourism campaign. And after all, BBDO is the official agency of the Yankees.

Blow me down!

After canceling its annual conference following the terrorist attacks, the Association of National Advertisers was determined to go ahead with its Multicultural Marketing Conference last week in Miami, despite Hurricane Michelle. The 150 attendees arrived amid hurricane warnings and spent the night at the new Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne.

On Monday morning, speakers gave their presentations above loud thumps and bangs. Jim Speros, chief marketing officer of Ernst & Young and chairman of the multicultural committee, demanded the hotel stop the noise. Hotel staff explained the wind was lifting the hotel's roof, but they were trying to secure it with ropes. The Ritz-Carlton is on the site of a Sheraton Hotel that was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew a decade ago.

Contributing: Laurel Wentz

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