Phil: I know you’re going to be shocked and dismayed by this, but U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Summers’ campaign manager Lance Dutson just sent me a note saying they are going up with their first TV advertisement on Wednesday. They will be the first campaign on air, even though independent Angus King has raised three times as much money!
Ethan: Well, he needs to be. He has an 18-point deficit to make up. Did he send you the ad?
Phil: Yup. Just click below, and let me know what you think.
Ethan: Pretty good, although, a little bland. Also, it looks about the same as his ad in the primary, except he says, “create jobs,” instead of “balance the budget.” If that’s his version of moving to the moderate middle after winning a conservative primary, he needs a better Etch A Sketch. Any idea how heavy the TV buy is?
Phil: I do, but I am not going to tell you! You’d immediately call Harry Reid and then blab it all over town. Suffice it to say, it is a moderate buy that starts almost exclusively in District 2 (Bangor market) and then starts spreading further.
Ethan: Smart of him to start up north where he is less known. Also, from what I hear, they are a scosh more conservative up there and probably will respond to his message a bit better. What do you think of the ad?
Phil: Suitable introduction. Good visuals. Crisp messaging. He could have left out the “repeal Obamacare” reference and saved that distinction for the time after these ads thoroughly introduced him.
Ethan: True, although the only way he’s going to win is to contrast King, who has clearly said he will vote to uphold Obamacare. My big problem is that the ad feels kind of milquetoast. Summers already comes across a little boring, and he needs to give us something memorable. And what does “preventing texting and driving” have to do with a U.S. Senate seat? Like you, I think I would have preferred a straight powerful bio ad.
Phil: I do agree with you that focusing on the 2nd CD is smart. It will give him more time to spend with his feet in the 1st CD. The question will be whether the buy is enough to sustain the repetition needed to make an impact. He must keep this (and perhaps another) “meet and like the candidate” message on the air for a couple of weeks at least, before drawing a distinction between him and the other candidates.
Ethan: And the next time you speak with him, would you please tell him to get another shirt! He used that blue button up in 2008 when he ran for Congress, in 2010 when he endorsed Dean Scontras and even in 1990 when he ran for Maine State Senate!
Phil: I’ll be sure to tell Lance.