A lighter touch

A LIGHTER TOUCH…. Most negative campaign ads have a fairly predictable tone: ominous music, overdramatic voice-over, dire warnings, etc. This morning, the Obama campaign unveiled a new ad that tries something a little different: a negative ad with a much lighter tone.

Aside from the fact that the ad features a song that immediately gets stuck in your head — thanks a lot, Obama campaign — I found the ad to be pretty effective. It mocks McCain, and emphasizes one of his more embarrassing concessions — “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should” — and does so in a way that makes the viewer take notice. It’s tough to thread the needle, attacking with a light touch, and the ad pulls it off.

For those of you who can’t watch clips from your office computers, the ad features a song, to the tune of Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World,” with a vocal track that tells the viewer, while McCain’s infamous quote is on screen, “I’m not up on the economy, don’t know much about industry. Really can’t explain the price of gas, or what has happened to the middle class.”

The image shifts to McCain and Bush together, and the song goes to, “But I know that one and one is two, and if I could be just like you, what a wonderful world this would be.” A voice-over concludes, “Do we really want four more years of the same old tune?”

The ad, titled “Don’t Know Much,” is slated to air, according to a campaign press release, on “national cable and in battleground states around the country beginning today.”

What’d you think of it?