Rick Perry, Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You

The advertisement I chose to analyze is the ad “Proven Leadership” for Rick Perry’s 2012 campaign. This ad caught many an eye because it’s not your standard political ad. It plays out like a trailer for a summer block buster hit. From the intense music, to the visually amazing cinematography, even those opposed to Perry’s campaign took notice. The ad itself is definitely part of a public relations campaign. It can even be defined under the Crisis Management subset of the public relations campaign. Instead of choosing a singular crisis to focus on, the ad made the country out to be in crisis during the first half. It did this by talking about how unemployment was high, a lot of people were in poverty, etc. The ad itself was definitely part of the promotion stage of the campaign. By this point, Perry’s campaign had planned, mobilized money and other resources, and had secured legitimacy by being one of the Republican front runners. This was the stage where he was promoting himself. The ad seemed to attempt to do this by filling you with a sense of dread and fear (as is unfortunately typical among Republican campaigns in today’s world), and then showing you the savior, if you will, who would lead America out of this crisis.
The ad was targeted towards Republicans, as this ad was the first ad in his quest to become the Republican nominee. Since only Republicans can vote in the primaries, that was his target audience. The persuasiveness of this ad is debatable, but I believe it was. The ad was so brilliant in a lot of ways. It starts out with desolate and hopeless shots, with an eerie piano playing in the background. Then it throws statistics at you while Obama talks in the background, all the while keeping the shots grey and dark. After the first half of the ad, it leaves you with a very somber attitude. Then the second half comes and the music, the lighting, and the words are inspiring. This ad really does seem to be more of a movie trailer rather than a political campaign ad. The interesting thing about this ad is it really doesn’t persuade you through statistics. Although statistics are shown during the first half, no statistics are shown in the second half to prove that Perry is any better than Obama. In fact all it seems to do is play on the heartstrings of Americans with phrases like “The United States is the last great hope of mankind” and “I believe her best days have not yet been seen”. It definitely tries to fire up the feelings of nationalism among the audience. While this ad was probably persuasive for those peripheral thinkers who probably got the feel good vibe and went with it, central route thinkers could see that this ad is nothing more than a fear mongering ad turning into national pride ad. It really has little to no substance as to the claim that Perry should be the president. While I do believe this ad to be persuasive to a limited audience, I do feel that this is the type of ad we will be seeing in the future. The American populace tends to get bored quite easily by political ads, but is easily thrilled at a good movie trailer.

-Alex Youngman

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