Ad-Watch Project

Attorney General Race: Pro Jerry Brown Ad



I.                    Description of the Ad:

The ad chosen for this project was for the Jerry Brown campaign.  It has been aired on cable television since late September, but was viewed via the internet on Google Video for the purposes of this assignment.  The title of the ad was “Poochigian Gets ZERO on Environmental Issues”.

The ad starts out with slow, suspenseful music and stresses the word “zero” in the middle of the screen in between the phrases “Want an Attorney General” and “League of Conservation Voters” .  Right after, there is a scene of Poochigian and President Bush smiling and half-hugging each other.  The ad goes on to mention how The League of Conservation Voters gave Poochigian a “zero”, which was highlighted in red, when it came to his stance on the environment.  After the ad mentions how Poochigian opposed or did not join pro-environmental legislation, and accompanied with scenes of nature and chunks of a glacier falling into the ocean, the music changes to lighter and higher piano notes and then show Jerry Brown’s picture as the best choice for Attorney General.  Then, on the last scene where Brown is shown from the chest up against a blue screen, it can be read that Brown is endorsed by The League of Conservation Voters, the California Police Chiefs Association, the Los Angles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.

The link to access this ad: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4095756659560365671&pr=goog-sl  


Other Notes Regarding this Ad[1]

This Ad:

-does say who paid for it; “Brown for Attorney General”

-does  not direct the viewer to take a specific action

-the ad does not mention words like “elect”, “support”, “vote for”, “defeat”, or “reject”

-does provide a phone number, mailing address, or website address

-in my judgment, has the purpose of attacking a candidate and contrasting candidates

-the candidate being promoted in this ad does not narrate his own ad

- is not intended to be humorous

-does not cite supporting sources like footnotes, to support various claims

-does not have an American flag does not appear on the ad

-has President George W. Bush; he is not vocally mentioned but his image does appear with the candidate that is being attacked

-the central figure in this ad, although negatively, is Poochigian

-the favored candidate does not appear with supporting actors

-the primary language in the ad, except for the end of the ad where the favored candidate is mentioned, is negative





II. Techniques:

The Techniques Noticed in this Ad Were as Follows:


This ad includes negative scenes or images, in this case two especially, that could easily be transferred to Poochigian.  The first scene that connects Poochigian to a negative image is when the picture of he and George W. Bush half-hugging each other is shown.  Although Bush is the President of the United States, his administration is currently suffering low approval ratings on behalf of the American public, including growing criticisms of his tactics when it comes to the war in the Middle East.  In this picture, Poochigian can easily be perceived as a complete supporter of Bush and his controversial legacy although there is no specific link mentioned or proven in the ad between Bush and Poochigian. 

            The second negative image that seems to transfer onto Poochigian is the chunk of ice falling off a glacier into the ocean.  This image implies that Poochigian’s policy towards environmental issues makes him a direct contributor to global warming.  Although it is mentioned that Poochigian did not support some global warming legislation, it is another thing to say that Poochigian contributes directly to global warming.  But this negative image transfers that idea to him.


            Since the main criticism of Poochigian in this ad is that he is not supportive of environmental issues, there is an underlying message of fear.  This message of fear makes it seem as if voting for Poochigian would lead to environmental doom.  The better action, which the ad states, would be to vote for Jerry Brown.  It is implied that voting for Jerry Brown would help to prevent environmental disaster.

2 Logical Fallacies[4]:

A.  Premise 1:  Poochigian does not support legislation to protect the environment, because, as mentioned in the ad, “he opposed tougher standards for air and water quality”, “was given a zero percent rating on behalf of the League of Conservation Voters”, and “opposed the historic bipartisan agreement to lower the effects of global warming”.

Premise 2:  People who hate the environment do not support pro-environment legislation.

Conclusion:  Poochigian must hate the environment since he does not support pro-environment legislation.


B.  Premise 1:  Poochigian, as portrayed in this ad, does not support the environmental legislation mentioned in the ad

Premise 2:  Jerry Brown is stated as a better choice for Attorney General because “he will always protect our environment”.

Conclusion:  Since Poochigian does not support the pro-environmental legislation that is mentioned in the ad, Jerry Brown has to be the obvious better choice.




III.  Ad Watch:

Type of Ad: 

This can be classified as a negative ad.  It encourages the audience to view Poochigian negatively because of his low rating with the League of Conservation Voters and for not supporting specific environmental legislation.


            Jerry Brown’s campaign attempts to appeal to those voters who hold environmental issues high on their priority list.  By making Poochigian, his opponent for the Attorney General seat, look bad on environmental issues, he makes himself look more promising for those voters that vote based on environmental issues.  Instead of Brown choosing to make a general criticism of his opponent, he decides to negatively focus on one specific aspect of Poochigian.

            Poochigian’s campaign ads, like the one my partner on this project did, are similar in the aspect that they choose to focus on a specific trait of Jerry Brown’s political career.  In the ad my partner analyzed, Poochigian chooses to focus on Brown’s business policy and not on a more general criticism of Brown.[5]







On a Scale of 1-10:


            In this ad, it is stated that Poochigian specifically “sides with polluters and opposes tougher standards for air and water quality” and, that “he rejected sound science and Poochigian opposed the historic bipartisan global warming agreement.”  Also, it strongly mentions that the California League of Conservation Voters gave Poochigian a zero percent rating.  Although the ad does make these claims, there is no footnote to give credibility to these statements.

            I had to do a search to find out if these two key claims were true.  In this search, it was found that Senator Chuck Poochigian was given a rating of 9% when it came to the approval of the California League of Conservation Voters in 2005.  In that same year, the Sierra Club was gave him a rating of  0%.  The only year that he received a 0% rating was in 2003.[6]  Although Poochigian does have an overall very low rating when it comes to environmental issues, this ad was not completely truthful in stating when Poochigian got a 0% rating.

            Also, according to his profile description on the government website for Republican Senators, it mentions that Poochigian did support the Safe Drinking Water, Clean Water, Watershed Protection and Flood Protection Act of 1999.  So to just broadly say that Poochigian does not support water quality legislation would not be completely true.[7]

            As far as opposing the bipartisan global warming agreement, which is also known as AB32 and was signed into law not too long ago, that can be proven to be true.  According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Poochigian is seen as a great enemy by various environmental groups and leaders.  In fact, it is considered to be his weakest point when it comes to his political career[8].

            Considering that the truth is stretched in some parts, but overall not too far off the mark, I give the truthfulness of this ad an 8.


            Although this ad did not use extensive graphics or fancy technology in the ad, the fact that they were able to promote the very negative image that a very dominant and reputable environmental organization holds of Poochigian is very convincing.  Also, the very cozy image of Bush and Poochigian helps Brown since Bush is suffering such low ratings right now.  Overall, for effectiveness, I give this a 9.

How Informative is it?

            Although this ad does give various information on Poochigian’s track record when it came to environmental policy and reputation, it did not give specific information.  For example, it did not give the bill number of the Global Warming Agreement and it did not mention the specific year that Poochigian received that zero percent approval rating from the California League of Conservation Voters.  Overall, I give the informative manner of this ad a 7.



IV Resources:

For more information regarding the information mentioned in this report, the following websites can be utilized:


·        http://turnerlearning.com/cnn/coldwar/cw_prop2.html

·        http://www.polisci.wisc.edu/tvadvertising/Coding%20the%20Ads.htm

·        www.jerrybrown.org

















[1] All these noted characteristics were answers to the questions listed in the Wisconsin Advertising Project which can be found at: http://www.polisci.wisc.edu/tvadvertising/Coding%20the%20Ads.htm

[2] This term is being utilized from the Student Propaganda Handout that can be found at:


[3] Ibid.

[4]This term is being utilized from the Student Propaganda Handout that can be found at:


[5]This ad from the Poochigian campaign can be viewed at:


[6] This information can be found at:



[7] This information can be found at:



[8]This information can be found at: