Carly Fiorina's bizarre political ad: Tom Campbell as demon sheep(Read article summary)
Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett Packard CEO who's running for a US Senate seat in California, released an attack ad this week, implying Republican primary rival Tom Campbell is like a demon sheep.
Demon sheep. A Greek column from which a demon sheep falls. Threatening weather, badly rendered. An inexplicable acronym. Music? More of a music-like hum.
This week Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and John McCain adviser whoâ€™s running for a US Senate seat from California, released a political attack ad that may be the most bizarre and counter-productive such missive ever produced.
And by counterproductive we mean â€śpossibly ensuring that Ms. Fiorina remains in the private sector.â€ť
The ad ostensibly is aimed at Fiorinaâ€™s Republican primary opponent, former Congressman Tom Campbell. It is meant to tar him as being a pretend fiscal conservative. We think. Itâ€™s hard to tell.
The ad begins with the words â€śpurityâ€ť and â€śpietyâ€ť appearing against a backdrop of sheep gambolling over rolling meadows. The narrator then begins rambling about â€śfiscal conservative leadersâ€ť and â€śtrue believers.â€ť Tom Campbellâ€™s name is mentioned, and at that point the Greek column appears, shooting up from behind the hill with the red-eyed demon sheep atop.
Then the storm appears, the sheep topples from its perch, and the ad enters Mark-Sanford-press-conference territory â€“ in the sense that you canâ€™t look away even though watching it makes you feel embarrassed.
Campbellâ€™s tax record is mentioned. Ordinary people appear. They disappear. The demon sheep looms in close-up. Campbell is labeled a FCINO â€“ â€śFiscal Conservative in Name Only."
Over-the-top ads can work in politics. But this isnâ€™t over-the-top. Itâ€™s Ishtar-ish. (You remember "Ishtar," the big movie that bombed?)
The Sheep. What do they symbolize? Are all fiscal conservatives sheep? Thatâ€™s what it seems like the ad is saying. Isnâ€™t Fiorina trying to get them to vote for her?
FCINO. Unpronounceable. Seems as if it could be a typo for â€śEncino.â€ť Acronyms should be used sparingly if you want real voters to pay attention.
Length. The ad is 3-1/2 minutes long. Sure, itâ€™s just meant to be seen on YouTube â€“ it would get cut if itâ€™s actually broadcast anywhere. But thatâ€™s too long. Nobodyâ€™s going to view it to the end.
This is not the first use of demonology in political ads. In 1997, the British Conservative party was criticized for running an ad depicting Laborâ€™s Tony Blair with demon eyes.
The Fiorina sheep ad has already gone viral. One of other Republicans running in the primary, Chuck DeVore, has already set up a website at demonsheep.org, devoted to S.F.T.E.O.D.S.F.O.P.D, or â€śSociety for the Eradication of Demon Sheep from our Political Discourse.â€ť
Watch the ad here, and decide for yourself.
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