It’s honestly a little scary to imagine what online video is going to be like in, say, October, given that it’s the first day of August, and the election is pretty much one of the only topics of discussion on the table. They haven’t even picked vice presidents yet, people! Can’t we simmer down just a little?
This week at least, the answer is no. Congressman McCain got mean on Wednesday with Celeb, an ad which compares Senator Obama’s celebrity status to that of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Low blow, sir, and not terribly accurate. If only because Obama has never forgotten to wear underwear at a Vegas nightclub.
The Obama campaign retaliated the same day with an ad attacking McCain’s recent attack ads. But, let’s be honest, using single-word pull quotes to support your position is a technique that barely sells movie tickets.
Meanwhile, the RNC, acting without any explicit connection to the candidate, put out their own viral video, their vision of what an Obama TV ad in Berlin might look like? What it boils down to is interviews with Berlin Love Parade ravers, plus some pictures of David Hasselhoff. It’s funny, I suppose, but only really makes fun of Germany: hardly relevant to American politics.
The best of the week, judged based on originality alone, is The Commander in Chief Test, a Sesame Street-style attack on McCain that digs up the candidate’s more embarrassing moments on the campaign trail to date. Though the “Maturity” moment doesn’t quite work — it’s from an Saturday Night Live guest appearance, during which the candidate took great delight in mocking his own age.
To be honest, I’ve been tracking this beat for a while now, and it seems like the quality of video commentary is really starting to plateau — ads are either just the tired old TV format, or riffs upon riffs upon riffs. But the conventions are coming, and fingers crossed they will bring fresh inspiration to Democrats and Republicans alike. I want this for purely selfish reasons. Because if the foreseeable future holds no escape from election videos, I can at least hope for watchable ones.