Friday, September 3, 2010

Brian Murphy's New Ad: A Dud

Brian Murphy's first TV spot of the season can be viewed here.

Watching it, you get the immediate impression that the guy isn't a politician - a positive thing, especially this year. But, you also conclude that he's an amateur in over his head.

Murphy speaks too quietly and quickly, and the message he's trying to deliver (that of a guy who wants to "fix the budget" and promote "entrepreneurialism") could be crisper and more focused. The ad never reveals enough of his background to lead voters to conclude that he can do either of those things. His youthful appearance and clean-cut sincerity make him seem more like a candidate for president of the Towson Jaycees than governor.

The heart of the ad is when it accuses Bob Ehrlich of supporting "the biggest spending increase," and Martin O'Malley of passing "the biggest tax increase," in state history. Inexplicably, the ad uses red lettering to drive home both compelling messages. Red is a difficult color for the eye to process. Also, everyone knows that red means "stop." Will viewers stop paying attention to the ad, or will they be motivated to stop Ehrlich and O'Malley at the polls? I suspect the former.

Overall, the ad is grainy and lacks polish. Murphy's use of his beautiful family as mute props, as well as the absense of any music, make it a little awkward to watch.

Bob Ehrlich is planning to launch his own ads prior to primary day. These ads will run on at least two Baltimore area TV stations as well as a station in Hagerstown. Over the years, the production quality of his ads have always been quite professional. I'm sure they will be again this year. The only mystery behind Ehrlich's pre-primary ads is why he feels the need to run them at all.

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