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Adwatch: Williams gains advantage with 2nd campaign-funded TV ad

Type of Ad:  Positive

Candidate: Anthony Hardy Williams

By: Williams for Mayor

Title: "Which ones?"

The Basics: Repeat after me: Anthony Hardy Williams supports the public schools.. Anthony Hardy Williams supports the public schools...Anthony Hardy...Well, you get the idea. And that is the message beamed out in the Williams campaign's second TV ad of this primary season. The first was biographical. This one -- also produced by Siegel Strategies, a New York media firm -- hones in on one message: (Once again) Anthony Hardy Williams supports the public schools. In this ad, the candidate takes to the screen himself to proclaim that he has helped the public schools (the figure $250 million is shown on a blackboard), that they deserve to be fully funded and "I'll be shouting about it and fighting for it until they are."

Crit: In politics, it's called inoculation. In this campaign, Williams is the man who has been labeled pro-charter school (because he is). Before his opponents can attack him with ads beating him up on that issue, Williams gets on the air and portrays himself as a staunch supporter of public education. So, take that. With Williams narrating the ad and staring into the camera, he makes it personal. It's effective in delivering its message. With his own advertising and with the pro-Williams ads being run by the American Cities SuperPAC, Williams is gaining a clear advantage in the air war portion of the campaign. The combined effect will likely move his numbers -- in a positive direction -- in the next public polls.

What Isn't Said: Williams makes much of the fact that his mother was a public school teacher, but doesn't mention that he went to high school at a private Quaker boarding school, the Westtown School in West Chester. It was a decision his mother made after he floundered and began to get into trouble at Conwell Middle School closer to home.

Is the ad factual:  Yes, though Williams gives the impression he brought the $250 million to the district through a solo effort. In fact, the aid was a joint effort among the Philadelphia delegation in the state Senate.

Overall Grade: A.