Former Ad Guy Goes Looking for Love in Political Commercial

Self-Deprecation and Jokes? What's Pete Snyder Thinking?

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When you think about it, your typical political ad isn't much different from the pitch in a dating profile: "Here are my qualifications. Please like me!"

But a recent ad from Pete Snyder, former CEO of New Media Strategies, makes that connection abundantly clear – and weirdly hilarious.

Snyder is aiming for the Lieutenant Governor's seat in Virginia. The next step in the process is getting the nomination at the Republican convention in May. And at the moment, he's in a crowded field of seven.

So in an attempt to cut through the clutter and as part of an effort dubbed "Operation Love," Snyder unleashed a Valentine's-themed ad aimed at winning over delegates. Did I say political ads were like dating profiles? Snyder assembled his ad out of dating profiles -- and not the intentionally funny ones modern-day hipsters write online, but those unintentionally (and actually) funny video dating ads from back in the day.

Now, any professional-grade political consultant would take one look at that and have a fit. Even Fred "Demon Sheep/I'm Not a Witch" Davis wouldn't sign off on this. Because self-deprecation is just not done in political ads. Heap a ton of scorn on the opponent, but never, ever poke fun at yourself in an ad.

Snyder confirmed this. "Yep, they told me I was crazy," he said. "And I might be -- but it worked. It's 2013, the same old, same old is boring. And it doesn't work anymore in politics."

In an email, Snyder explained: "People like to see that you don't take yourself too seriously. We've had generation after generation of hair sprayed and blown dry, sound byte driven candidates that all say the same old drivel. I wanted to speak from the heart a bit (in talking about winning folks over and how I met my wife - when she was on a date w another dude) and also have some fun with this thing. Campaigns shouldn't just be long, hard slogs. They should be ideas driven -- and a bit more fun."

That's not to say he's not leaning on some old-school traditions. His team is traversing the state with Pete's Pig Rig dishing out barbecue (Snyder is a certified barbecue judge – as is the author of this piece). Of course, Snyder being the guy who ran New Media Strategies, the Pig Rig itself has a twitter account and has made at least one slightly sarcastic comment to Snyder's wife.

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