“As both a political ad guy, and a general ad guy,” says Sonoma’s Bob Gardner, “I always lean toward trying to do the kind of commercial that will draw people in, and make them think a little bit.”
Adds Gardner: “As opposed to trying to hit them over the head with a sledgehammer.”
A seasoned political media consultant and the founder and president of San Francisco’s the Advocacy Group – an advertising and communications firm with a focus on corporate, crisis and political messages – Gardner recently found himself in the midst of a global social-media maelstrom.
The cause is a quartet of eye-opening YouTube spots, vigorously ridiculing presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump.
In one gleefully salacious 30-second commercial, a supremely flexible yoga practitioner teases Trump’s self-proclaimed “size.” Another is a straight-shooting 60-second coffee-shop oratory featuring two friends debating the pros-and-cons of Trump’s much ballyhooed “political un-correctness.” A third features an adorably expressive baby, observing his Trump-supporting father in baby-ish horror, while comparing the “nasty” billionaire candidate to his own self-centered, toy-hoarding big brother.
The fourth spot presents a friendly poker game that turns political when a player cautiously remarks that Trump must know what he’s doing because, “He’s a world class deal maker,” to which another player scoffs, “He bankrupted a casino, dude.” The spot ends with one of the poker buddies arguing, “Look, we made a bad bet last time and lost. Let’s not double down.” “And end up with Hillary,” adds another card holder, ruefully, as they all nod in buzz-diminished alarm.
What the spots have in common – aside from their all being brazenly anti-Trump, and certainly anti-Clinton – is a playful energy and a deliciously wry sense of humor.
“I believe in that,” says Gardner. “You have to use humor. You can’t take on Donald Trump head on. We’ve seen how badly that works out. He dropped 17 opponents, a lot of whom were trying to take him head-on. And now, I think the Clinton camp – and to some extent the Sanders camp – is making the same mistake.”
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