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June 03, 2008

Trust Me, This Ad Is Weird

posted by Josh Goodman

Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo is up for reelection today. I could tell you all about the hot topics in Sacramento (ok, that's a lie), but instead I'll allow this Fargo campaign ad to summarize:

No, the sound on your computer isn't broken. Yes, that's all there is to it. Here's how Fargo explained the ad, according to the Sacramento Bee:

"Basically, I am staking my entire campaign on one word, and that word is trust," Fargo said. "In 18 years in public office, there has never been one whiff of impropriety. I have never been accused of putting a special interest above the public interest, and I'm very proud of that, so I'm asking people basically to think about trusting me some more."

The implicit message here is that voters can't trust Fargo's leading opponent, Kevin Johnson, who has been dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct and mismanagement of properties owned by his non-profit corporation. This Associated Press article does a good job summarizing the allegations and the election as a whole.

So, Fargo has succeeded in creating the most minimalistic negative ad (or contrast ad, if you prefer) in political history.

Whether the ad is succeeding in persuading voters is another matter. A recent poll only gave Fargo a narrow lead. She cruised to reelection four years ago.

Kevin Johnson is, by the way, that Kevin Johnson, the former basketball star for the NBA's Phoenix Suns. However, the Steve Francis who is on the ballot today in the San Diego mayoral race is not that Steve Francis, the current NBA player and one-time NBA star.


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