The increasing use of the internet has lowered the price of creating a message. As a consequence, sites such as youtube contain many campaign videos. The Democrat and Republican front-runners all have campaign videos and this writing examines the use of language by word, body movement, setting, and clothing. If I do my job correctly, you won't be able to tell which party I support.
This ad was posted in January and "I'm In" is the title. Hillary is sitting on a coach with her arm draped over a pillow. The room has soft-lamp light, flowers, and picture frames. A glass door that leads to a wooded path is visible. She is wearing a red jacket over a black shirt with a cross necklace. The setting is geared toward a middle-aged female audience and seeks to show her as a gentle person. The red jacket has a "look at me" factor that may be meant to convey strength to a male audience. Of course, the cross necklace speaks to religious sensabilities.
Hillary's body language is smooth and fluid. She emphasizes strong points with hand movements. Her main issues are, in order, the war in Iraq, energy independence, the deficit, and healthcare. All of them are on peoples' minds. She entices an educated audience by invoking Locke's social contract. Also, she goes after the everyday working person by saying, "I grew up in a middle-class family in the middle of America." Finally, she contends that "we all need to be part of the discussion" and harnesses the power of the Internet by announcing live chats.
It is clear that this ad is directed at a young audience with a social conscience. "Tomorrow Begins Today" is the title. Mr. Edwards is in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans and there are minority children in the background. They are working on a new house and he is wearing a simple work shirt. His hand movements are sweeping and fluid and he counts his main points on his fingers. He uses future-oriented phrases ex. "look toward the future." He courts the middle-class with a heavy focus on the economy. Mr. Edwards also goes after a young activist audience by promising to attract attention to world social issues that the larger American public ignores, such as Darfur and the civil war in Northern Uganda. Finally, he asks his young viewers to join his campaign with a text message and "forward this video to all your friends."
He also speaks about the "McCain Doctrine" of a troop surge. This was an incredibly smart move to damage a rival before the campaign starts up. There are signs that this effort to tie McCain to Iraq has worked. McCain continues to sink in the polls and failed to meet his target financial goal.
This ad is similar to the the other two in several ways. He puts a good deal of focus on the economy and says that there needs to be "profound changes for working people." He also cleverly ties the energy crisis to the war on terror. "Dependence on oil puts our security at risk." This message is aimed at the clean energy environmental advocates and the so-called security moms. Like Hillary, he discusses his middle-class upbringing and thanks his audience for their prayers.
However, parts of his ad are very different from the other two. Instead of citing experience, he talks about the widespread disdain for "politics as usual." Mr. Obama also tries to make himself look older and more experienced. He is in a softly-lit room with office shelves in the background. He doesn't move his hands or vary his tone very much. At times, he seems ill-at-ease. He needs to be more confident.
As promised, here are my analyses of the Republican videos that are on YouTube.
This ad is very different from the advertisments of the Democrats. Mr. Romney never talks directly to the camera and the footage is from previous appearences and town hall meetings with clapping crowds. Slow trumpet music accompanies the footage. He emphasizes his status as a family man by showing his wife. Having his wife in the video is a good idea because it paints a subliminal message that he is above the other Republican candidates. The Republicans have been "tainted" by their multiple marriages, while the democrats are all one for one. He aims for the religious traditional values crowd.
He also courts the broad middle by saying he was "a Republican governor who turned around a Democratic state." Mr. Romney also discusses the need to address the manufacturing competition with Asia. By doing so, he makes a connection with the U.S. factory workers who are struggling. Finally, he uses a device that is more powerful than all of his spoken words. At multiple points during the ad, the screen goes dark and words are shown. Together, the words spell " “Mitt Romney. Strong. New. Leadership. Mitt Romney. President." This device plants an unambigious message that he is the best man for the job.
Mr. Gulliani is sitting in a lit environment. A table with flowers and an American flag are in the background. He's wearing a black jacket, green tie, and flag lapel pin. His town is serious; his body is stiff; and his hands are not fully visible. Most of the ad is completely directed at the Republican base. His first issue is keeping the nation safe in the war on terror. He talks about his experience as a mayor and how he cut taxes, reduced crime, and cut government in half. He says that "we need common sense accountability … from Iraq to immigration to entitilement reform." Notice the clever bit of alliteration that is designed to help the viewer remember his message. He courts the broad middle of the political spectrum by saying that he worked well with a Democratic city council and "what unites us as Americans is far greater than what divides us." Finally, Gulliani encourages his audience to use the internet because "new technology gives one person the ability to make a difference."
This candadite has an unusual method of getting his message out. Instead of a catchall ad, his YouTube channel has different shorts about seperate issues. One of these shorts is titled "Roosevelt and Reagan." He is wearing a blue shirt and a red tie. He is set against an entirely white background and there is soft violin music that swells near the video's end. He begins by saying "Roosevelt is my ultimate hero" and goes on to talk about Roosevelt's and Regean's forward thinking views about America. Mr. McCain doesn't move his body very much, but he uses some interesting facial expressions. He looks up, bites his lip, and scrunches his face in an effort to appear thoughtful. Finally, he compares himself to his past heros, hoping that the comparision will be remembered.