Film composer Danny Elfman, best known for his scores for films by Tim Burton, including Batman, has created an ad, "Our Greatest Fear," which envisions President Sarah Paln. The ad has an accompanying website
Independent ad "Our Greatest Fear:"
The McCain campaign released an ad with a Bush endorsement that they hope will help their cause in the battleground state of Florida; that of the state's former governor Jeb Bush.
McCain ad "Jeb:"
The Repbulican National Committee has some fun at the expense of Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi, comparing them to The Three Stooges in order to raises fears about Democratic control over the government.
RNC ad "Stooges:"
David Bordwell, one of the country's most prominent film scholars, has written an article, "It Was a Dark and Stormy Campaign," which draws on film theory, literary criticism, and other techniques to look at the 2008 election from a variety of perspectives. Here is an excerpt from his analysis of Obama's half-hour commercial:
American Stories isn’t centrally about Obama’s life or his family or running mate. Instead, the campaign created a series of anecdotal narratives. In turn, these narratives were linked by associations, not by the causal connections typical of narrative. Most broadly, Obama framed these narratives and linkages within a set of policy statements, so that the narratives provided illustrative examples of a rhetorical argument.
A football mom can’t pay for her husband’s medical treatment and must ration the kids’ snacks. An elderly retiree who paid off the family house must return to work to pay for his wife’s medications. A teacher in a school for at-risk kids must take a second job and still find time for her training, while deciding whether to buy a gallon or half-gallon of milk. A loyal Ford assembly-line worker is dropped to half-time; unlike his father and grandfather, he cannot expect a full pension. “Everybody here’s got a story,” Obama remarks.
The stories serve to illustrate a checklist of Obama’s positions: rescuing the middle class by means of tax cuts, making corporations accountable for pension fulfillment, working for energy independence, reforming health care, and shifting the war on terror to Afghanistan. So far, so categorical. But these talking points aren’t linked by logical inference but by association. Take the story of teacher Juliana Sanchez. She instantiates the ‘education’ idea. Cut to Obama saying that teachers can do only so much: Parents must take responsibility for their children’s learning. Just as Juliana is taking care of her children, Obama recalls his mother taking care of him, as a single parent. Over family photographs he tells of his mother rousing him from bed to go through his lessons before she went to work. Link to Obama giving a speech in which he declares that every child needs a world-class education. Cut to him addressing the camera, declaring that he’s seen school reform work. The political has become doubly personal, exemplified by Juliana and by Obama’s own experience.
After scores of attack ads, the McCain campaign's closing ad, "Freedom," is biographical and positive. While it doesn't mention Obama, it implicitly questions his credentials by saying, "don't hope for a stronger America, vote for one."
McCain ad: "Freedom:"
This Web video/animation urges supporters to turn voting into a social activity and bring friends along.
Obama Web video: "Don't Vote Alone:"
The thoroughness of the efforts by his opponents to find new lines of attack against Barack Obama is exemplified by this Web video compilation of apologies by Obama for tardiness to Senate hearings. The video received more than 250,000 views within two days of being posted on YouTube.
Although there have been plenty of negative ads in this year's presidential campaign, it is safe to say that none gone quite to this extreme. Senator Elizabeth Dole attacks her opponent, Kay Hagen, as "Godless."
Elizabeth Dole ad "Godless:"
Kay Hagen response ad:
Current TV is running a minute-long overview of The Living Room Candidate:
The Obama campaign has been actively using email and its website, which includes separate websites for each of the fifty states, to post targeted celebrity endorsements. Here, Cynthia Nixon, a star of Sex and the City, speaks to Ohio voters about early voting and women's issues. Edie Falco, star of The Sopranos, targets North Carolina voters, urging them not to "leave the ending up in the air." Eric Schmitt, CEO of Google, targets voters from his home state of Virginia.
Obama Web endorsement from Cynthia Nixon for Ohio:
Obama Web endorsement from Edie Falco for North Carolina:
Obama Web endorsement from Eric Schmitt for Virginia:
Just in time for Halloween comes this creative web ad for Obama made in the style of a cheap sci-fi horror movie to warn of evil robocalls.
Obama Web ad: "Robots Attack!"
McCain takes a break from attacking Obama's credibility with an ad using footage of Obama praising McCain on a bill supporting limits for greenhouse gas emissions.
McCain ad "Obama Praising McCain:"
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) released an ad attacking McCain for supporting tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs. The ad, featuring a woman who says "I was Meghan the Factory Worker" is a response to "Joe the Plumber."
SEIU ad "Meghan:"
This new McCain ad attacks Obama for saying that he would be willing to meet with Iranian leaders without preconditions. Invoking the notion that Ahmedinijad would "wipe Israel off the map," the minute-long ad seems designed to target Jewish voters.
Florida's popular Republican Governor Charlie Crist made an ad endorsing McCain. Florida's 27 electoral votes are essential to McCain's chances of winning the election. Appealing to multiple groups, Crist calls McCain a conservative, a reformer, and a maverick.
McCain ad "Crist:"
The Conservative 527 group Let Freedom Ring uses an African-American, and cites the words of Martin Luther King, to argue that blacks should not vote for Obama simply because he is black.
Let Freedom Ring ad "Not This Time:"
The day after their half-hour commercial, the Obama campaign released two closing ads, with five days left until the election. "Rearview Mirror" sums up the idea that McCain would represent a continuation of Bush's economic policies, and "Something" is an optimistic ad, using the endorsements of Colin Powell and Warren Buffett to attract bipartisan support.
Obama TV ad "Rearview Mirror:"
Obama TV ad "Something:"
Has Joe the Plumber overshadowed Joe the Sixpack as the iconic Everyman for the McCain campaign? That's the question in this satirical web video starring Thomas Haden Church.
The group ACORN, which has been accused by Republicans of promoting voter fraud, has released its first-ever TV ad, focusing on the issue of voter suppression. Michael Falcone reports on the ad in The New York Times.
ACORN ad "Not This Time:"
This is the first Obama TV ad to directly question McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate, using footage of her winking during the vice-presidential debate. Leslie Savan dissects the spot, and a McCain ad, in The Nation.
Obama TV ad "His Choice:"