Bernie Sanders, fresh off a huge victory over Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary, recently released a new ad that continues to extend his campaign’s message: This election is about you, whoever you are, standing together. In his previous ad, one of the first national spots of his campaign, the presidential hopeful appears on screen a good amount, perhaps simply because people needed to know what this Sanders guy looked like. But in this new ad, as Sanders’s voice roars, he appears on screen for all of five seconds, at the end of it. (Oh, and there’s an awkward bar mitzvah photo in it, so that makes it rock, too.)
Compare this to that of Sanders’s Democractic opponent, Hillary Clinton. One of her first national ads is mostly Clinton herself, much the same as Bernie’s. She begins her ad with the word “I,” says it four more times, and ends the ad with chants of
Hillary.” In the ad she aims to prove her legitimacy as a presidential candidate; if elected, she would work for you “no matter who you are…” That the same-ish stump messaging as Sanders, but with the change happening through her, rather than via the empowerment of her voters.
Now look, I’ve no dog in this fight—yet. This is merely a pop comparison of two ads. But as Sanders continues his rise in the polls, which should make Clinton sweat, it might be time for her campaign to carve out a better and perhaps less self-centered narrative, and work it through a new ad as they re-boot. Because Bernie’s messaging is gaining steam an solidarity and therefore legitimacy. It’s razor-sharp and people, at least (and especially) the youth, are listening. And that worked out well for our current president. Twice.
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