Senior VP-associate planning director,Hill Holliday, Boston
"I don't see any of the ads speaking to the undecided. They're so strident that to me they look like they're speaking just to the opposing bases. Whether it's the Bush 'Wolves' ad or the Kerry 'Heroes' ad, they're very melodramatic."
President-creative director, Interpublic's Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.
"The work that [Hal] Riney and [Phil] Dusenberry did for [Ronald] Reagan more than 20 years ago at least built a long-term inviting brand. ...This year, I think it's going to be hard for either side to find good in the person in office."
Former Chairman, Hal Riney & Partners, San Francisco
"When the president acts like a guy running for deputy sheriff, it's appalling. If I were Bush, I'd rather lose than act like a circus clown....If [Bush] was trying to rip off [my 'Bear' spot], well, I didn't quite understand what [the 'Wolf'] ad was about."
Chairman-chief creative officer, Havas' Arnold Worldwide, Boston
"In the red states, it's fear: 'Your kids are going to die ... criminals will be loose on the streets.' Where's the blue-state stuff, the inspirational, aspirational? ... I'll tell you where it is. It doesn't exist in the political arena. It's all fear tactics."
Managing partner-exec creative director, Deutsch, Los Angeles
"Some of the attacks have really stuck. ... In every focus group I've been to, people react badly to attack ads. They want to hear what's good about your brands, and it would seem that math would translate tenfold for human beings."
Executive creative director, Modernista, Boston
"The Republicans have been better at capturing the emotional. They have this plain-spoken ...approach that's effective. With Kerry, it's been too abstract. The Republicans seem to understand that you have to keep it archetypally simple."
Joyce King Thomas
Exec VP-chief creative officer, McCann Erickson, New York
"The advertising has been very random and doesn't add up to anything. ... The best work I've seen was Errol Morris' 'Switch' ads [for MoveOn.org]. It was straightforward, clear, simple, and I knew what to take away."
Co-exec creative director, Butler, Shine, Stern, Sausalito, Calif.
"The 'Wolves' spot was at least somewhat conceptual, as opposed to a PowerPoint presentation with some quotes in it. ... I look at terrorists more as rodents, but the whole metaphor is pretty powerful."
Senior VP-group creative director, Omnicom's GSD&M, Austin, Texas
"The really grotesque aberrations from the truth this year have come from the 527s. ... When I see a 527 ad that I think is crap, or even one I happen to agree with, it's still a shadowy brand that's bringing me the information-and it's less credible."