State Senator Joni Ernst (R-Red Oak) has garnered all sorts of media attention with her first ad released yesterday in Iowa’s U.S. Senate race that included a mention by Jimmy Fallon during his monologue on the Tonight Show.
I mean it gave the media a chance to discuss hog castration, how often do they get to do that? It has to be a first for me. You can’t ask for better media coverage out of an ad. Craig Robinson compared her to Christine O’Donnell, who was best known for her “I’m Not a Witch” ad during her failed 2010 run for U.S. Senate in Delaware.
I couldn’t disagree more. Ernst’s commercial dealt with her childhood background, one that many Iowans can relate to, and she tied it to a problem seen in Washington. It highlighted her agricultural roots. O’Donnell’s ad was a failed attempt at addressing negative publicity.
I have to admit that when I first heard the ad I cringed, not because it was bad, but because of the visceral image it left in my mind and hey, I’m a guy. However I thought it was funny and refreshing for a political ad. The line about castrating hogs was a line was well received during the AFP debate last October and the campaign is targeting Iowa Republicans, not East Coast media who may balk at or make fun of the ad. It provided a great contrast to the video released with presumed Democratic nominee Congressman Bruce Braley. You couldn’t have timed that any better.
When you don’t have the resources of Braley or even fellow candidate Mark Jacobs you need to get a bang for your buck. This ad has already received over 92,000 views at the time of this writing. When your ad goes viral like Ernst’s has it helps when you don’t have the money for continual ad buys. Not bad for spending around $7000 for a cable ad buy on Fox News in the Des Moines market.
Ernst came across as down to earth highlighting her agricultural roots while attacking the Beltway’s knack for big spending on the same day that Braley portrayed himself as elitist. So did the ad hurt her because of some mocking by members of the media? I don’t think so. While the ad won’t by itself sway people who are undecided to vote for her, it probably will pique the interest of voters who have not heard of her in a race that has marked by poor name recognition. Which is really what you want in a political ad.
Here’s Jimmy Fallon’s monologue (starting at the 1:38 mark).