In the unlikely event that you haven’t yet seen it, California Republican Carly Fiorina’s Senate campaign released a curious three and a half minute web video last week. It takes aim at her GOP primary opponent Tom Campbell, calling him a “fiscal conservative in name only.”
The video has all your standard attack ad elements—sheep falling from pillars in the sky after an ominous lightening strike, not to mention the guy in a sheep suit complete with glowing red Demon eyes...
Ok, so the ad is just a bit outside the box. But so is the man who made it—Republican ad guru Fred Davis.
“We went out on a limb a little bit,” Davis tells Politics. “But boy did we stir the pot.”
When you think about it, Demon Sheep and Davis aren’t all that unlikely of a pairing. Davis is not only no stranger to the Hail Mary Pass-type campaign ad, he seems to love it.
Davis created one of the most talked about ads of the ’08 presidential cycle for the campaign of Sen. John McCain—the Paris Hilton “celebrity ad” as it came to be known. Davis was also behind the so-called “Godless ad” in the Elizabeth Dole vs. Kay Hagen North Carolina Senate race.
And in 2002, Davis created an ad for underdog Georgia gubernatorial candidate Sonny Perdue that many credit as key to his eventual victory. Davis depicted longtime Gov. Roy Barnes as “King Roy,” a Godzilla-like giant rat stomping through Georgia’s cities leaving destruction in his wake.
While the Demon Sheep ad was widely panned by the Campbell campaign and his online strategists—Patrick Ruffini and Mindy Finn of Engage—Davis says he’s thrilled with the buzz its created. “The hubbub over what got the message in front of people eventually dies down,” says Davis. “But they remember the message.”
As for whether or not Demon Sheep could make another appearance during the primary race, Davis says no one has ruled it out. But, he notes, it’s not as though the campaign hasn’t tried the more traditional route, too.
“We put a bio film on the website last week” says Davis. “Has one person even seen it? I probably should have put some demonic sheep in that one.”
Shane D'Aprile is senior editor at Politics magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.