The 2010 election season is proving to a heated one, and campaigns are pulling out all the stops to secure every last vote. The minds behind all of those TV ads and internet videos are getting a little more risqué—whether they’re going for funny, shocking or just plain ridiculous. When Carly Fiorina’s “demon sheep” ad, an attack on her opponent in the Republican primary, Tom Campbell, went viral early in the year, it seemed to set the standard for ridiculousness in this year’s campaign cycle. She followed that with a spot portraying incumbent Barbara Boxer’s head as a hot air balloon, floating in the skies of California and striking fear into the hearts of all who saw her. But those two spots were just the kick-off of what is quickly becoming a race to the edges of taste. In the last week, there have been a couple of campaigns that debuted new ads that were made to poke fun at traditional campaigning or have, whether intentionally or not, caused a stir and given the pundits and late night talk show hosts plenty to talk about. Dale Peterson, who ended up third in the Alabama GOP primary for agriculture commissioner, has made some waves with new ad endorsing run-off candidate John McMillan. His new ad isn’t much different from his primary campaign spots, he still calls run-off candidate Dorman Grace a “dummy,” but this time around he’s taking shots, literally, at anyone who want to hinder McMillan’s eventual victory. In between slamming Grace for allegedly accepting illegal campaign contributions and endorsing McMillan, Peterson stops mid speech to shoot at a presumed “thug” who is trying to steal a McMillan yard sign. Since its debut, the ad has taken on a life of its own, inspiring video spoofs and turning focus more onto Peterson himself than the actual run-off candidates. But Peterson isn’t the only one who is using the second amendment in a recent output of unusual campaign ads. Pamela Gorman, Republican congressional candidate in Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District, takes it a step further in her newest advertisement. The spot consists mostly of footage of Gorman firing off machine guns and pistols in between images of her sweetly smiling into the camera, with a voice over saying that that she’s “the best shot for change.” Gorman insists it was just a “fun little gun video,” but it has caused quite a stir in the state and raised a few eyebrows across the country. While Rep. Tom Perriello’s debut TV spot isn’t exactly the same caliber of spots, it does take the road less travelled intentionally poking fun at the candidate it supports. In the ad, Perriello, a Virginia Democrat, is down and dirty, working in the jobs he says he‘s going to bring back to Virginia. The humor is mostly elementary-school level—him stepping in cow dung and getting smacked in the face with a tree branch—but it makes a pretty good attempt at breaking through the stilted stuffiness of most political ads. Whether intentional or not, the entertainment value of recent campaign ads has seemingly increased in the past few weeks, and has left many people looking to see what will come next. The ads have at least fulfilled part of their purpose; they have our attention.
The 2010 election season is proving to a heated one, and campaigns are pulling out all the stops to secure every last vote.