Listen: I’ve worked as a reporter or speechwriter since forever, and yes, there are receipts: I have a Bob Kerrey bumper sticker.
So yeah, it’s fair to say I’ve seen 5.93 metric tons of campaign ads.
And yes, 99 percent of them are typically unremarkable. Part of that is because political consultants bought into the “only negative ads work!” idea and ran with it all the way to crazy town.
This meant seeing piles of black-and-white ads with scary music and narrators trying to make me think Candidate A would outlaw ice cream and turn my house into a brothel for North Korean soldiers.
This year is an exception, at least on the Biden side, with Trump busy trying to outdo the infamous Demon Sheep ad. Yes, I am not making that up. There really is a Demon Sheep ad that Carly spent real cash to create and run in California, which is not exactly a cheap media market.
Hurray for positive ads in 2020
There’s some new research that positive ads work, thank God.
Biden has run a ton of them this year.
The Lincoln Project is known for scathing, hilarious ads, but they’ve also run impressive positive ones.
Many of these are long-form, which is also a nice switch. I’ve been in the gym for an hour in the morning during presidential years when every single ad was political and they were all Black-and-White Scary Music Nonsense.
Here are my favorites of 2020, with most of these set to music.
For Your Boys
Sam Elliot FTW
America the Beautiful
Did I miss your favorite ad? There have been many this year. Hit me in the comments.