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A Positive Ad Campaign, if Only for a Weekend

The ad implicitly compares Mr. Biden’s pledge to protect older adults, known to be the most vulnerable to the coronavirus, with Mr. Trump’s push to lift coronavirus restrictions around the country. Recent polls suggest this kind of messaging has been working, as Mr. Biden maintains a double-digit lead in multiple polls among voters 65 and older.

The second most-aired ad, and the one with the most money behind it, is a 60-second spot featuring a veteran of the Iraq war. He describes an armored military truck known as a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, or MRAP, and says, “This senator that I really had never heard of, named Joe Biden, was the one who was responsible for getting these MRAPs to Iraq.”

Mr. Biden did play a key role in getting the vehicles produced and deployed, and the Pentagon has said they saved many lives, though some analysts questioned whether they were worth the cost.

The ad hits all the key points for a testimonial: an unknown American with specific experience describing an understandable event that showcases the candidate’s work. And while the Biden campaign plays up his ties to veterans, it may also be hoping that voters recall Bob Woodward’s report that Mr. Trump has denigrated his generals in private.

One other ad that received heavy airtime this weekend was titled “The Biden Plan.” Rather than offer the broad brush strokes commonly found in political ads, this spot focused on some planks of Mr. Biden’s economic platform, including “nearly $7,000 for child care,” a $15,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers, and Social Security benefits that “could increase by $1,300.”

Of course, any such plans would require approval in Congress. But the ad is an acknowledgment that many voters vote with their wallets.

Abutting those ads, however, the Trump campaign was still running attacks on Mr. Biden, including one spot with a woman sitting silently on a bed, holding up signs with messages criticizing the former vice president.

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