That's what advertising for the 2000 presidential hopeful will urge in his campaign breaking June 2, well ahead of efforts for rival candidates. The seven-spot campaign will break on cable TV's CNN, CNBC and Fox News Channel and on local stations in early primary states. The campaign is a departure from his advertising in an earlier failed presidential bid four years ago; it positions the Forbes editor in chief as a non-politician.
"People will find the advertising very different," said Bill Dal Col, campaign manager for Forbes 2000, Mr. Forbes' campaign organization. "It's more issue-driven. I don't have a politician running, I have an outsider. Our advertising has to be different because the candidate is different."
Three biographical spots shot in b&w in a suite at the historic Hay-Adams Hotel feature Mr. Forbes talking earnestly about some of the challenges the nation faces. A view of the White House peeks through hotel curtains, interspersed with cuts of Mr. Forbes at Washington monuments, pondering questions or looking studious. The spots also feature the billboards "Steve Forbes for America" and "Steve Forbes for president," with uplifting music in the background.
'WHEN WAS LAST TIME WE HAD LEADER?'
TV will be supported with radio and print in early primary states as well as direct mail, all starting later this week. The headline of a color print ad to be run late this week in newspapers in major primary states reads: "The Constitution guarantees that we always have a president, but when was the last time we had a leader."
The campaign was crafted by William Eisner & Associates, Hales Corners, Wis.; Paul Sanderson of Our Town Films, New York, handled Mr. Forbes' earlier ad campaign.
Mr. Eisner is a relative newcomer to political advertising, having created an offbeat campaign last fall for Wisconsin GOP senatorial hopeful Mark Neumann. Mr. Neumann lost in a close race but his advance from underdog to a serious contender was attributed in part to the advertising.
Mr. Eisner has hired consultant R.J. Johnson to help on the political ads. John McLaughlin & Associates, Nyack, N.Y., handles media buying for Forbes 2000.
The initial run will be four weeks.
CAPITALIZING ON PERSONAL FUNDS
In breaking the new ad effort 17 months before the election, Mr. Forbes is again capitalizing on his decision to decline federal matching funds for his campaign. Candidates who accept federal money must agree to limit their expenditures in primary states. Spending this early would force a candidate accepting matching money to cut back on spending closer to the primaries.
Four years ago, former Sen. Bob Dole's attempt to answer Mr. Forbes in Iowa and New Hampshire created spending-cap problems in both states for Sen. Dole.
The Forbes campaign -- which without such restrictions can spend now and spend later -- hopes its ability to air spots early will help it set the 2000 campaign's agenda.
"We have to take the opportunity to introduce Steve, to frame the agenda and the debate, and make the debate on serious issues," Mr. Dal Col said. "We have to bring the outsiders in so they can see who [Mr. Forbes] is and who he