Adwatch is a new, regular feature of The Next Mayor project, taking a look at the political ads in the race and grading them based on fact and nuance.
Type of Ad: Positive
Candidate: Jim Kenney
By: Forward Philadelphia
The Basics: This is a pro-Kenney ad courtesy of Forward Philadelphia, a new SuperPAC that will likely end up getting most of its money from the teachers union, which has endorsed for former Councilman. The ad was done by Shorr, Johnson, Magnus, a political media firm headquartered in Philly, though it does a lot national work as well. Saul Shorr, the principal partner, is known for doing unions and Democrats. Shorr did the flight of ads last year that made an anonymous York County businessman governor of Pennsylvania by turning him into a modern-day Jimmy Stewart. Here's a sample.
Crit: Good ads are like good songs. The best combine words, music and images to create an emotional -- and, in this case -- positive reaction. On one level, this is a classic roots ad: telling us that Kenney is a local kid, son of a firefighter, first in his family to graduate from college. Biog aside, it also seeks to establish Kenney, as the ad puts it, "a progressive voice who will be a mayor for our neighborhoods." The rowhouse kid as a grown-up reformer. It's tightly edited, as 30-second spots must be, and interlaces eight shots of Kenney with eight shots that include blacks (check); kids (check), kindly teachers (check) and blue-collar guys (check). Little snippets of info that add up to a pleasant portrait. It's all about the gestalt, baby, and it works.
What Isn't Said: The ad doesn't mention that Kenney has a conventional political background, with Vince Fumo as a mentor. But, then, why should it? It's the SuperPAC's money and it gets to spend it anyway it wants to.
Slogan in the Making? The final seconds offer us a lovely bird's eye view of the city skyline as the reader intones: "Jim Kenney. The block by block candidate we need to move Philadelphia ahead."
Is the ad factual? Yes.
Overall Grade: A.