Ferrick, The Next Mayor project's columnist, begins what will become a regular feature on the mayoral site — taking a look at the political ads in the race and grading them based on fact and nuance.
Type of Ad: Positive
Candidate: Tony Williams
By: Williams for Mayor
The Basics: Williams becomes the first mayoral candidate to go up on TV with ads paid for by his own campaign committee. FCC records indicate it is a modest $40,000 buy to run on WPVI (Channel 6) between March 24 and March 30. No word posted yet on additional buys at other stations. Ad was produced by Siegel Strategies, a New York political media firm that specializes in Democratic candidates and unions. For a sample of the firm's other work, click here.
Crit: This is a well-produced ad that tries to do four things 1. To establish the candidate's bona fides as an African-American with deep roots through references to his grandfather and his father. 2. To tout his record in the Senate by focusing how he has helped public education and law enforcement. 3. To sound the theme of the Williams campaign -- one mayor for one city. 4. To remind his base: "Hey, I am the black candidate!"
That's a lot of work for one 30-second spot to accomplish. Perhaps too much.
The editing is crisp, but the message blurs. The fact that the ad is so busy may be due to one of two factors: it is a test ad that will be refined over time or the campaign realizes it won't have enough money to do separate ads on biog, record and message so it has to cram them into one.
What Isn't Said: The campaign knows that education is a hot button issue, with Williams' pioneering support of charter schools as a potential negative. This ad makes no mention of charters. Instead, it focuses on how Williams (almost single handedly, we are led to believe) got more state money for the public schools. Repeat after me: Williams supports public schools.
Nitpick: The final line is: "There are over 1 million people in Philadelphia, but he's running to be mayor of one city." There are way over 1 million people in the city. There are over 1.5 million. It may not look like a big difference from New York, but it's important here.
Is the ad factual? Yes. It's whopper free.
Overall Grade: B.