Over a few beers and brats, we got the folks from Sterling Cooper to give us their opinion. Here's what they had to say:
-Dumbest ad: Henry McMaster's "Vultures" ad. Don Draper: "Advertising is based on one thing, happiness. And you know what happiness is? It's the smell of a new car. It's freedom from fear. It's a billboard on the side of the road that screams reassurance that whatever you are doing is okay. You are okay. Plus...vultures aren't even birds of prey. They don't attack. They simply feed on dead carcasses. America isn't dead." Paul Kinsey found McMaster's use of the term "states' rights" offensive. As he packed his pipe, Paul commented he didn't go to Mississippi on the Freedom Rides for some jackass to use that same argument 40+ years later to be elected governor.
-Pinocchio Award (Most Wooden): Paul Thurmond's "Honesty and Trust" ad. Basically, the ad plays out with Thurmond walking up to some guy working a counter in a store, with the premise being this is just Thurmond and some potential voter chewing the fat. But the commercial fails, as Roger Sterling points out, because Thurmond appears as wooden as a marionette puppet with a hand up his ass. Burt Cooper did not like Roger running down his old buddy Strom's son, but the ad man in Burt had to acknowledge that it was a bad visual, with the "actor" in the commercial coming across so much more "relaxed and normal," which is what the commercial was supposed to do for Thurmond. As Draper noted: "You are the product. You feeling something. That''s what sells. And he looked as though he felt nothing."
-Lamest endorsement: Andre Bauer's Mike Huckabee Endorsement ad. This ad was hard for our guests to gauge because they had no idea who Mike Huckabee was. When we explained he's a former Governor of Arkansas from Hope, Arkansas, Joan, who was in the other room, got awfully quiet.
But when she came into the room and saw him as we were explaining Huckabee came in 3rd in the 2008 REPUBLICAN primary, you could see her visibly exhale. We think she had her mind on another former Arkansas Governor. Everyone agreed it was kind of lame ad. Draper summed up the room by pointing out," I hate to break it to you, but there is no big lie. There is no system, the universe is indifferent."
-Best ad? The room was unanimous in liking Curtis Loftis' "remote control" ad. Salvatore remarked that Loftis comes across casual and relaxed in the ad. Peggy liked that he stuck the knife in at the end with humor, joking that he'd pay for his own car. This unfortunately digressed into a heated discussion about expense accounts, with all the ad men arguing the importance of a towing package and 4WD on a job-provided vehicle. They were shocked to find out 3-martini lunches are not kosher on the State's dime.
-Nikki Haley Ads. It took some time for our guests to wrap their minds around a woman candidate for Governor. Especially when they saw the Sarah Palin commercial and we had to explain the Palin was the former half-term governor of Alaska and had been the 2008 Republican VP candidate. Peggy was obviously thrilled. Joan and Betty not so much. Joan commented that "sometimes when people get what they want they realize how limited their goals were." The men were not very excited about it either, although there were some remarks about the jeans in the her "down on the farm" ad. As to the Folks-Haley story, when told of it, Draper offered up this advice for Haley: "Get out of here and move forward. This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened."
That was pretty much it. After lunch, we all headed to 3-stump where Joan got oggled and even Betty warmed up a little after a half-gallon of Colorado Kool-Aid...