Invoking the documentary-style campaign ads of television’s early years, the Obama campaign ran a 30-minute primetime campaign ad on several networks Oct. 29.
The ad was created by Davis Guggenheim, the director of 2006’s "An Inconvenient Truth" and the son of renowned documentary filmmaker Charles Guggenheim, who created "Convention," a similarly styled television ad for 1972 Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern.
Profiling four families struggling to keep up with bills and save for retirement, Obama’s ad also features testimonials for Sen. Obama’s tax plan by prominent politicians including Govs. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, Tim Kaine of Virginia and Deval Patrick of Massachusetts.
The ad also intersperses excerpts from Obama’s speeches at the 2004 and 2008 Democratic National Conventions and other past speeches, as well as statements taped specifically for the ad that outline what he would do to grow the U.S. economy as president.
The ad does not mention Obama’s rival, Ariz. Sen. John McCain, or the Republican Party.
From a ratings standpoint, the ad was a success. According to Nielsen, “in the top 56 local television markets where Nielsen maintains electronic TV meters,” 21.7 percent of households watched the Obama ad.
But not everyone was happy with what they saw. Pundits were divided on the ad’s effectiveness, as were television critics. And following the ad, the Boston Herald reported that Obama’s lead in two prominent daily tracking polls, Gallup and Rasmussen, is slipping, though several state polls still show him leading in key states won by President George W. Bush in 2004, including Ohio, Colorado, Nevada and Virginia.