Playlist Evan Tracey
Healthcare Reform (Two Extremes)
The Living Room Candidate
"Health care Reform (Two Extremes)," Obama, 2008
MALE NARRATOR: On health care reform,
[TEXT: Health Care Reform]
MALE NARRATOR: Two extremes.
MALE NARRATOR: On one end,
MALE NARRATOR [and TEXT]: Government-run health care, higher taxes.
MALE NARRATOR: On the other,
MALE NARRATOR [and TEXT]: Insurance companies without rules, denying coverage.
MALE NARRATOR: Barack Obama says both extremes are wrong.
[TEXT: HEALTH CARE REFORM]
MALE NARRATOR: His plan: Keep your employer-paid coverage.
[TEXT: Keep employer-paid coverage]
MALE NARRATOR [and TEXT]: Keep your own doctor. Take on insurance companies to bring down costs.
Cover pre-existing conditions and preventive care.
[TEXT: Cover preventive care]
MALE NARRATOR: Common sense for the change we need.
[TEXT: It's common sense for the change we need]
[TEXT: Read Obama's Plan: BarackObama.com]
"Healthcare Reform (Two Extremes)," Obama for America, 2008
Maker: Obama Media Team
Original air date: 09/29/08
From Museum of the Moving Image, The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials 1952-2012.
www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/2008/healthcare-reform-two-extremes (accessed March 22, 2023).
Besides holding the advantage on spending, the Obama campaign also had a superior message strategy. When a campaign runs so many ads in such a condensed time period, it tends to get diminished returns. Without variety, voters are more likely to tune out a message, making ads less effective. The Obama campaign knew that simply airing more ads than McCain was not going to be enough; they needed to use their spending advantage to talk to voters on a number of different issues and themes.
The auto insurance company Geico features cavemen, geckos, rock stars, has-been celebrities, talking syrup bottles, and more in its advertisements, but the ads always tie back to one central message: “We can save you money on your car insurance.” The Obama message strategy was similarly multidimensional. In the general election, the campaign aired over 120 different ads in less than 130 days. The ads featured a variety of messages, themes, looks, styles, and even languages. But, just like Geico ads, they all ended with a clear message: Change.
The diversity of the Obama message was critical to his victory because the variety of messages offered something for everyone.
Obama's increased spending allowed the campaign to have a greater amount of negative ads than McCain in the battleground states. Yet the majority of Obama's ads were positive, allowing him to be perceived as the more upbeat of the two candidates.
This ad, which did air once during the Obama convention, was McCain simply being McCain. Who knew that the next day he’d consume the Obama convention bounce with his surprise pick of Governor Palin?