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DOLE'S DECISION:WHEN TO ATTACK;ADVISERS SAY BIG CHALLENGE IS EXPLAINING GOP CANDIDATE TO THE VOTERS

By Published on .

[san diego] Boosted by a GOP convention as carefully staged as a TV commercial, Bob Dole's campaign now faces the difficult task of deciding which advertising road to take: building Sen. Dole up, or tearing Bill Clinton down.

Now that it has received $70 million in federal campaign money, the Dole for President Committee is due to launch its advertising this week.

FILM BIOGRAPHY WILL YIELD ADS

Details of the early ads are not known, but upcoming spots are expected to be drawn from a 7-minute film biography shown prior to Sen. Dole's acceptance speech and prepared by the candidate's New Century Media Group, an ad team that includes media adviser Don Sipple; Andy Berlin, chairman of Fallon McElligott Berlin, New York; and Mike Murphy, senior partner in Murphy, Pintak & Gautier, McLean, Va.

The challenge for the Dole team will be in choosing how long to stick with that kind of advertising before taking President Clinton on more directly.

CLINTON/GORE AD ASSAULT

That question wasn't made any simpler by the Clinton/Gore '96 Committee, which Aug. 15 began using some of its last money of the primary campaign to attack Sen. Dole and try to counter the effect of the Republican convention.

The ad, from Squier Knapp Ochs, Washington, shows a picture of the Oval Office with a voice-over stating, "If Bob Dole was sitting here .. " followed by warnings about the effect of Medicare cuts and handgun laws.

Republicans attending the GOP National Convention here last week urged caution in moving too quickly to attack President Clinton. Many suggested Sen. Dole needs to run an issue-oriented campaign totally different in tone from the attacks of the GOP primary campaign.

EXPLAINING DOLE

"You have to put more meat on the bones," said Ed Goeas, president of the Tarrance Group, a Republican polling firm, in describing the first job of Dole advertising.

BBDO Chairman Phil Dusenberry, in San Diego to watch Republicans view and cheer the tribute to Ronald Reagan that he and Norm Cohen of Normandy Film Group prepared, said voters may actually know more about Mr. Kemp than the former Kansas senator. He said the campaign's first ad goal is to explain Sen. Dole.

Mr. Dusenberry said he expected President Clinton's campaign to try to blur the lines of the campaign issues and try to adopt a feel good, emotional "Reaganesque" theme of "Aren't you better off now than you were four years ago."

Sen. Dole's response has to be to stress issues, he said.

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