Campaign Ad Watch
Govt. 158: Mass Media and Politics
I. Description of the ad
· Race/ Campaign: Governor
· First air date: October 9, 2006
· Title: “Compare”
· Ad found online at http://www.joinarnold.com/site/c.jkIVLdMTJrE/b.2123557/k.C7D5/Compare.htm
· Sponsor: Californians for Schwarzenegger- 2006
This is a
contrast ad supporting Arnold Schwarzenegger.
It opens with 13 seconds of statements supporting
The only contact information the ad provides is the web address for the Schwarzenegger campaign and the organization sponsoring the ad. No phone numbers, mailing addresses or other contact information is given for either candidate. While the ad is clearly supportive of Schwarzenegger and ends with the statement, “we know a leader when we see one”, it does not mention any words in terms of supporting, defeating, or voting for either candidate. Rather, information is given about each person’s political performance from which the viewer is supposed to draw their own conclusion.
also features the Schwarzenegger campaign slogan “Keep moving
No other political candidates are
mentioned or shown in the ad. No claims made
by the Angelides campaign are refuted or mentioned. The ad focuses on the benefits of
Schwarzenegger’s policy in
Despite that this is a
pro-Arnold-contrast ad, Angelides is shown eight seconds more than
Schwarzenegger. Other than
video clips of
The entire ad is narrated by a woman with text that appears on screen to support the narration. The ad does not include endorsements of any kind nor is any other political race mentioned.
the name of the commercial, this is a contrast ad that attacks Phil
Angelides. It employs broad
This type of attack ad utilizes “intended effects”, which is defined as "creating negative feelings toward the targeted candidate and positive feelings toward the sponsoring candidate. This strategy runs the risk of producing the opposite reaction, known as a “boomerang effect” and is characterized by the term “unintended effects”. As defined, unintended effects may create more negative feelings toward the sponsor, rather than toward the target.
Schwarzenegger ad uses music and narrator tone to praise
Angelides segment of the ad changes music and narrator tone to set a negative
environment, designed to persuade the viewer to listen and read with a
perspective of mistrust and pessimism. In addition, the footage of Angelides is
turned black and white and shown in reverse.
This type of footage is designed to visually suggest that Phil Angelides
that is displayed in the ad changes between candidates as well. During the Schwarzenegger segment, text that
appears is colored green while text that appears for Angelides is red. Considering that the Republican Party is
associated with the color red and blue for the Democratic Party, we can
speculate that the colors are designed to signify green for progress and red
for regression, which follows the theme of the ad and
Type of ad: This type of ad is known as a contrast ad. It is designed to separate the candidate from the opposition and becomes a negative ad when the central focus is to attack the opponent.
Context: This ad
conveys the message that Phil Angelides will reverse
Truthfulness: 7 (out of 10)
The information used in the ad, while technically true, has been used with political spin to illicit a negative response to Phil Angelides.
The ad provides two statements regarding Phil Angelides:
“He says he’s committed to health care, but his position on universal coverage changed three times in just one month.”
statement refers to Angelides’ position on California Senate Bill 840 (SB
840). SB 840 is a monumental health care
bill that involves drastic changes to
“Angelides says he's an environmentalist, but he's the only candidate cited by the EPA for destroying wetlands.”
While the language has been
sharpened for impact in this ad, Angelides was cited by the EPA. Prior to Angelides’ political career, Angelides' company, River West, was ordered to halt work in
Folsom after violating the Clean Water Act. Further investigation shows that following
the incident, in reconciling with the EPA and State of
Effectiveness: 6 (out of 10)
This ad will most likely illicit an emotional response from the viewer but will not be expected to sway a mass number of voters. A method of measuring emotional response known as the response model assumes that when people are exposed to a message, they have psychological processes that determine the impact of the message. Ads tend to reinforce pre-existing views of voters and may slightly raise or lower their enthusiasm in the election. Viewers who are less informed or have weak party affiliations are most effectively influenced by negative ads like this one. Across all voting groups, political ads both negative and positive will raise information levels of voters, despite how distorted the information may be.
How effective is this ad likely to be? Judge this based on research on campaign advertising, public opinion polls on the topics, etc. Make sure to cite your sources for all of this.
How informative is it? 6 (out of 10)
ad states vague information about
 Garramone, "Voter Responses to Negative Political Ads," 250.
 Garramone, "Voter Responses to Negative Political Ads," 251.
 Peter L. Wright, "The Cognitive Processes Mediating Acceptance of Advertising," Journal of Marketing Research 10 (1973): 53-62.