Spitzer/Siegel Ad Team Roughed Up in Fight

Positive Messaging Only Works In a Vacuum

By Published on .

People say they hate the nasty side of political advertising. Some pundits claim such tactics don't work. Those people are wrong, lying or both. Case in point: Jimmy Siegel's work for Elliot Spitzer. The duo has been roughed up in its most recent ad fight.

The inspiring ads that ran during last year's New York governor's race garnered a lot of praise. Even Ad Age liked them. But, as an Ad Age editorial pointed out at the time, "Mr. Spitzer has the luxury of having no real competition." In other words, if he'd been in a dog fight, he'd have to behave like a dog ... or else.

Spitzer, of course, won and a new political age dawned in New York. OK. Spitzer won and it was business as usual. Spitzer tried to take down special-interest groups -- the most public battle was against hospital-workers unions. That well-oiled machine unleashed some spectacularly manipulative advertising -- and by manipulative, I mean effective.

Here's "Margaret"

And here's "Anna Rose," a 94-year-old woman who's very angry

In another version of the Anna Rose ad, she mentions she may be in a walker, but she's willing to stand up to Elliot Spitzer. Other ads featured angry nurses.

And the Spitzer teame responded first with reason -- because that works so well in such cases -- and then this:

According to the New York Post, "Siegel's ads, including one with a chorus singing 'hallelujah' in response to Spitzer's proposals, were widely seen as ineffective, as proven by several public-opinion polls that showed the governor's popularity plunging, especially among African-American voters."
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