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IA Closing Ads 2: Hillary (1)

January 29, 2016

I’m going to need two pages for what I want to present about Hillary’s ads, so this page will address the “closing” ad, and then I’ll address some others on the next page.

I had some trouble finding exactly the “closing” ad that I had heard about, the one in which Hillary attacks Bernie (a small but important portion of the ad), “The Time Has Come”; so I looked at several Hillary ads, which was good.

If you haven’t already viewed “The Time Has Come” please do before you read my thoughts.

The music isn’t particularly good, but the ad immediately establishes something of a conversation (see preceding Bernie ad page for a bit of what I have in mind, in focusing on image, story, conversation), by directly addressing the viewer/voter: “The time has come to make a choice about which candidate can actually make a difference for you in a world as complex as this. . . .” But the voice speaking to us isn’t in Hillary.

Plus, the accompanying, visual image, the opening image of the ad, is of the outside of a modest home, in the snow. We’re out in the cold (although surely we’re meant to think of ourselves as being inside with our families in the warmth of our home (see Bernie page).   Possibly that’s how Iowans would perceive it—I haven’t seen snow yet, this winter. And, the porch light does suddenly come on.

So, in an archetypal sense, the ad doesn’t get off to a good start, it seems to me—although the spoken message is good. We see a couple of photos of ordinary people doing ordinary things; but then the message is that “in a complex world such as this” we need an especially experienced and capable person in the presidency, who can get things done. The film footage with this is of a larger landscape and cityscape, not very illustrative of the idea, or very gripping.

Now at this point it might seem as though I’m knocking Hillary, but I’m not; my point is that the ad is not very effective (obviously I might be wrong about that), and largely because it doesn’t “archetypally” express what this candidate is all about. It states it, but it doesn’t “live” it, in our psyches. Before I go on with the ad, let me say a bit more about what I mean my that (and btw, in the ‘50s when Madison Avenue radically developed effective advertising, one reason was that a lot of English majors, steeped in image and story, went to work there).

The images—I’m going to call them visuals, illustrations, details—in this ad (and a lot of political ads, indeed it’s the conventional thing) serve as illustrations, more or less dramatic, which I call “details.” “Images,” in the sense of archetypal representations-of-things, are “soulful,” “soul-filled,” tapping the “logos” of the “psyche”: they engage our unconscious thought processes, our depths, simultaneously with our conscious awareness; they richly engage our imagination by holistically activating reason, emotion, and intuition; and they plunge into our personal and species memories (often without our conscious awareness that we are remembering).

Bernie’s “America” ad achieves “image”—the ad as a whole is an image, in this sense of the term.

This is not to say that Bernie or Hillary is or is not “soulful.” I’m only suggesting that their ads, and how voters respond to them, might provide insights into the deeper “logos” of their campaigns and of the general 2016 campaign .

Back to the ad: after the visuals of the complex world, we are shown still photos of Hillary serving in situations which require strength of will, determination; and then we see quick illustrations of areas of our lives in which she will work for us. As the male over-voice lists the points of her platform, we see Hillary in conversation with ordinary people, or a photo of an ordinary person, illustrating each point.

At the close, the finale, of the ad we hear the candidate’s voice, completing what started as maybe a conversation, but which by now maybe sounds more like a rather conventional declaration: “I’m running to make a difference, a real difference for you and your families across this country.”

I don’t feel—the ad hasn’t made me powerfully imagine, that difference.

However, I have seen the big difference (but to what extent is it a difference-maker?!), what may well be the really powerful, indeed potentially soulful, image in Hillary’s campaign:  the sight—which must become a vision—of a woman, President. I’ll address that on the next page.

Story (often called “narrative”), like image and conversation, also is an archetypal form for achieving psycho-logical depth. I don’t think there’s very much story in this ad—some, but not much.

On my second page about Hillary’s ads, we’ll find more effective use of these archetypal forms.

[Here’s an interesting (tho not particularly soulful) conversation between Sam Seder and a guest, assessing this ad and Bernie’s “America.”]

(And in case you missed it, the ad claims that the alternative choice is a candidate who wants to risk a start-over on Obamacare, who would add to gridlock and thus not be able to get anything done, who attacks Planned Parenthood, who protects the gun lobby, and who ignores foreign policy.  I’ll just mention that the relationship between truth, honesty, and the archetypal forms of the soul’s logos is interesting.)

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