The analysis of a political ad revovles around determining the purpose of the ad and then deciding if the ad was effective or not. In order to to do this the characteristics of the specific ad must be reviewed with the time period the ad was realeased in mind. Once these factors have been considered the ad will be successful if it fulfills the characteristics, relevance and effectiveness. The ad "First Choice" released July 6, 2004 by the Republican Party is an example of an ad that extols the candidates virtues. The important function of this type of ad is to praise the candidate and reinforce the positive feelings of supporters.
According to Trent, "the ad's primary objective- extoling the candidate and ignoring the opponent" (pg. 156) should be easily recognized througout the ad. Throughout the ad "First Choice" the images and sounds capture the audience. The only noise throughout the speech is the voice of Senator John McCain introducing President George W. Bush to an audience. The speech is heard while images of war and positive attributes of Bush are seen. The voice of Senator McCain is extremely relevant to the effectiveness of the ad because in the 2000 Presidential election, McCain ran against Bush in the primaries for the Republican Presidential Nomination.
He ended up losing the nomination and supported his party's candidate George W. Bush. Since that time McCain has been viewed as a strong force as the Senator of Arizona. The fact that McCain has run against Bush is not the only reason that his voice over is significant. The Democratic Party in 2004 considered McCain to run as Senator John Kerry's runningmate for the office of Vice President of the United States. The ticket would be bipartisan to generate more votes and increase the chances of the challenger obtaining the office of President.
While McCain never intended on becoming the vice-presidential candidate, he was within the top 25 contenders for the position. (http://www. cnn. com/ELECTION/2004/special/president/candidates/vp. contenders/) It is doubtful that McCain would have accepted if the offer was extended. The point of the ad is Kerry would not be able to have McCain if he wanted to because of the strong support McCain now gives to Bush. In the ad McCain refers to Bush and the war in Iraq by saying, " It is a great test of our generation (the war) and he (Bush) has led with great moral clarity and firm resolve.
He has not wavered, he has not flinched from the hard choices, he was determined to make this world a better, safer, free place. He deserves not only our support but our admiration. " The fact that Kerry was contemplating McCain as his runningmate makes him appear to be a ridiculous candidate because Senator McCain clearly does not support Senator John Kerry's candidacy for president. According to the website http://www. georgewbush. com the ad , "features John Kerry's first choice for vice-presidential runningmate, United States Senator John McCain.
In the new ad, John McCain discusses his support for the President and the leadership President Bush has provided in the War on Terror. " The day that the ad was released was the day that Kerry finally announced who would be his runningmate. While he did not choose McCain, the ad was pointed directly at the fact that he considered it. Through viewing the ad one also notes the connection of visuals of war with the leadership capabilites of Bush. The images that are shown as specific words are said by McCain impacts the viewer and helps to reiterate the importance of the war in Iraq.
Many of the words within the text create powerful sentences such as, 'America is under attack by depreved enemies who oppose our every interest and hate every value we hold dear" (http://www. georgewbush. com). As these words are spoken the "depraved enemy" is a clip of Osama bin Laden speaking and to express, "every interest and hate every value we hold dear" images of a young soldier in camoflauge walking through a battle area is shown. Tying these images to the words of McCain make them more effective to the viewer. It proves the "twice the message" idea that was explained earlier is in fact true.
Throughout the ad strong emotional words and phrases emerge with equally strong images to capture the viewer. A second example is the start of the ad when the sentence "It's a fight between right and wrong, good and evil" is heard and an image of Sadam Hussein's statue being dragged around is shown. That moment on April 9, 2003 marked the beginning of success with the war in Iraq and the liberation of the citizens of Iraq. Showing this image in association with right and worng or good and evil it makes the viewer understand Hussein to be wrong and the U. S. / Bush to be right.
Associating those together connects then that it is necessary for Bush to be in office to proceed with the right action to win the war. The ad uses the same type of gripping words and imagery when saying, "And should our enemies acquire for thier arsenal and chemical , biological and nuclear weapons they seek, this war will become an even bigger thing" (http://www. georgewbush. com) and showing war images. During the first section of the sentence a man with a black coat and a cap on is shown shooting a large gun into the streets. This implies he is the enemy and he is who we should fear.
It gives an image to the idea of a terrorist and what the enemy is doing at this time: he is shooting into the streets of Iraq. The next image is McCain speaking and he is in the safe place of America talking about what needs to be done, this shows he supports Bush, the man who knows who the enemy is. The last part of the sentence shows two images as these words are heard, "this war will become an even bigger thing". First, a young soldier sits in camoflauge, staring ahead ready to pounce on the enemy and then looks directly into the camera. Second, the boots of a soldier as he walks away down the dirt street are shown.
Combining these two images the viewer feels the anxiety of the soldier who is waiting. The moment when the soldier meets eyes with the viewer gives the viewer a face to the men and women of the military. Using this image projcets the idea that Bush is necessary and he needs to protect the people of the United States and the young men and women who are serving in Iraq. The second image of the boots gives the idea of this one soldier will not be enough when the war becomes a bigger thing. If the situation is not addressed and Bush does not remian in office then the war will be out of military control.
The last image that evokes forceful emotions from the viewer is an extreme close-up of a young soldier who is wearing a helmet, sunglasses and wearing an ear/moith peice and staring into the camera. The words heard at this point are, "It will become a fight for our survival" (http://www. georgewbush. com). This image restates the idea that Bush is necessary to keeping these men and everyone within the United States alive. If he is not the person in charge then the war will get out of control and we will all have to fight for our lives to survive.
The combination of words and images is also used when refering to Bush at the end of the ad. Bush is shown ia multitude of times at the end of the ad. He is behind a podium speaking, talking on the phone, generating cheers at a convention, sitting at home during an interview, hugging McCain, and finally walking through the outside of the whitehouse. All of these images are used with strong character words such as, "moral clarity" "firm resolve" "determined" "deserves not only our support but our admiration" to show that Bush is hard at work serving hte people of teh United States.
The image of Bush and McCain embracing on the stage seems to be the clincher for the ad by demonstrating the deep connection/support the once rivals have for each other. All of the visuals and words combined create a strong emotional case for why Bush needs to stay in office and why American's should support him. The last reasons why the ad "First Choice" proved to be a good example of a political ad is the fulfillment of the purpose of the ad. The ad is a Phase 2 ad that should, "indentify the candidate's causes, ideas, concerns-what the candidate stands for" (Trent, pg. 154).
The ad uses the tactic of a "benevolent leader" to express the Phase 2 ad. The 'benevolent leader"(Trent pg. 154) focuses on traits of the candidate rather than the policies and positions of the candidate. According to Trent the these types of ads are shown, "in testimonials in which a prominent person discusses a specific characteristic of the candidate" (pg. 154). The ad "First Choice" exemplifies this through having a respected source, Senator John McCain, speak about President George W. Bush to a crowd of people and point out the positive leadership and directional qualities Bush has shown.
Throughout the entire ad Bush only speaks at the end to say he approves the ad, that reinforces the purpose of expressesing the "benevolent leader". The second purpose of the ad is to extol the virtues of the candidate, praise the candidate and reinforce the positive feelings of supporters. The ad accomplishes the first part of this through the "benevolent leader" qualities discussed previously. McCain lists several qualities of Bush that praise and appeal to the viewer. The supporters positive feelings of the candidate are reinforced through the connection of the images and sound.
The audience understands through the ad that Bush is necessary part of surviving the war and are able to see the soldiers who are in the war supporting him. By showing the young men ready to fight the audience's emotions are targeted. A sense of American pride is tapped into through the images and help to create the positive feelings of supporters for Bush. The ad "First Choice" is proven to be an effective political ad through the voice over of Senator John McCain, the emotional plea to viewers through the combination of images/sound and the fulfillment of purpose of the ad.
It matters that this ad has been a successful and an effective example of a political ad because by giving a base of how to analyze political ads helps the audience better understand what to look for within the ad. The ability to read an ad and be able to determine its effectiveness or acceptability as truth is important for audience. Since, "In most campaigns for statewide or national office, television spots are now the dominant mode of campaign advertising" (Uncivil Wars. pg. 99) the audience needs to have the tools of analyzing political ads so the truth of the ad is understood.