The first shot

Not sure how many of you have seen this, but Harley Rouda—who has raised an absolute shitload of money thus far for his desired 2018 run against Dana Rohrabacher—is out with his first advertisement.

I give it a solid B+

The good: 

• Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia. This situation isn’t getting cleaned up any time soon. Tie Dana to Russia, then tie the knot three, four, five times. If Trump goes down, Dana has a ton of questions to answer.

• The shot of Dana asking the reporter, “Where do you come from?” is stinging and exposing. Dana is good at sounding like ol’ Grandpa Surf. But, truly, he’s a despicable xenophobe. Make that clear.

• You can’t go wrong with shots of Harley shaking hands, smiling, looking interested. It’s quality visual, and I’d actually think about using similar devices in an ad called, “Dana’s Not There.” Make it about Rohrabacher’s refusal to meet constituents, and say, “I’m Harley Rouda, and I’ll always talk to my constituents—whether we agree or not. That’s a promise.”

The meh:

• At best, 12 percent of voters can locate Macedonia on a map. Hell, I couldn’t until a few seconds ago. The political unrest is definitely troubling–but is it a Top 50 issue for Americans? Um, no. So to lead with that as a sledgehammer issue against ol’ Dana seems a bit misguided. As we say in journalism, “never bury the lede.”

• I’d be careful about the “entrenched members of Washington establishment” line, and here’s why: Generally speaking, congressmen come and congressmen go. One of Dana’s talking points is that he’s experienced, he holds sway, etc. Yes, you want to make him sound like a hardened Washington asswipe who’s forgotten the people back home. But you don’t want to boost his, “Hey, I get stuff done because I know everyone” mojo.

• The background music is … um … ah … um … yeah.

• The sweater: Harley, don’t hate me. But two words: Math. Teacher.

The OK:

• I’m not so sure the term limits thing works. Why? Because people keep voting for him. If they were truly pissed about Dana’s return after return after return, they’d stop. Like Macedonia, it’s not a Top 100 issue for voters.

• “I’ll work to take big money out of politics.” Not sure I’d use that line when I’ve already raised $100,000 in 12 days. I mean, the fundraising is necessary and important. But you can’t raise it and remove it.


Overall, it’s a solid ad. Nice work.


2 thoughts on “The first shot”

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