Best of 2020 No. 24: Ballot bubbles silence Trump in humorous ads from Biden campaign

Simple, animated spots have a straightforward message

Published On
Oct 30, 2020

Editor's Pick

Through New Year's Day, Ad Age will be counting down the 30 best campaigns and brand ideas of the year.

No. 24: Joe Biden’s presidential campaign hit the sweet spot with a pair of ads featuring a talking voting bubble and a helpful No. 2 pencil. Running just a few days before the election, the animated ads were spare but offered both humor and suspense in delivering their directive: If you want to shut the POTUS up, get out and vote. In the sea of political ads full of testimonials and archival footage, these stood out with their powerful simplicity.

Original Story:

A pair of new ads from the Biden campaign take a simple approach. Each features a sideway oval, which begins to move like a mouth as we hear words from President Trump, cut together from his various speeches:

On COVID:  “It’s going to disappear, one day, it’s like a miracle it will disappear. They are dying, that’s true. It is what it is…”

On the environment: “All of this with the global warming, a lot of it is a hoax. It’ll start getting cooler,  you just watch. I see again the forest fires starting …”

As his voice carries on, the nib of a pen lands in the bubble and starts to scribble, filling in the empty, moving ellipses. As the oval gets darker, Trump’s voice become increasingly muted, and once the final bit of white is filled in—complete silence. The camera then zooms out to reveal that the oval is on a ballot, and sitting next to it is Joe Biden’s name.

According to the New York Times, the bubble ads target younger voters and are set to air on Comedy Central and Adult Swim.

It's a smart premise with just days to go before Nov. 3, but the spots would have also been really timely had they run right after the first presidential debate