Jessica Roy calls this College Republican National Committee ad “just a teensy bit tone-deaf”:
Esther Breger piles on:
The ads, which somehow cost $1 million dollars, are part of CRNC’s campaign to reach young voters in a “culturally relevant way,” as CRNC’s Alex Smith told the Wall Street Journal. (Smith, by the way, is a woman.) And to be fair, Democratic campaigns have also struggled painfully in their attempts to be hip and with it, though at least their gifs and co-opted memes show some awareness of a cultural world beyond basic cable. (Note to Alex Smith: The median age of “Say Yes to the Dress” viewers is 44.)
Bernstein spots perhaps a bigger problem with the ad – it is being used in multiple states:
Making cookie-cutter ads is just asking for trouble.
See, not only does Brittney the “undecided voter” “think that “The Rick Scott is perfect,” she feels the same way about “The Rick Snyder,” “The Tom Corbett” and three other dresses. The ads are identical, only the candidate names change (never mind that Brittney can’t vote in six states in November).
But whatever their quality and however mockery-worthy they are, the ads are open invitations for Democratic opponents to hammer the dreaded Outside Interests Who Don’t Care About [insert name of state here]’s Values. It’s a classic example of the way elections are conducted in the U.S.: Candidates’ campaign organizations are seemingly in charge, but decentralized party and quasi-party organizations step in and help — or embarrass — them.
Waldman also discusses ad strategy more generally:
[W]hen you’re trying to reach out to a particular group, it’s important to communicate to them that you respect them and you understand their concerns. And these ads do precisely the opposite. Instead of talking about the things that are important to women, they take the same message they’d offer to anyone else, and just put in what they consider a womanly context (wedding dresses! boyfriends!). Imagine that a candidate went before an audience of Hispanics and said, “Let me explain this in a way you can relate to: My economic plan is like a really good tamale. My opponent’s economic plan is like the worst tamale you ever ate. Understand?” And he’d expect everyone in the audience to turn to each other and say, “I may not care for his position on immigration, but that tamale analogy showed me that he really gets us.”