come up with a great idea for a TV ad. It goes
something like this.
shot] First plane crashing into World Trade Center
tower. Fireman looks up, startled. "Holy shit!"
Over]: "Some days, things just don't go right.
The day's plans are ruined, and your routine is
to:] Scenes of hundreds of emergency vehicles,
all code three, racing down New York street toward
WTC. Use chase scenes from "Blues Brothers" if
Over: "On days like that, sometimes good dental
care has to take a back seat. You don't want to
do that, but sometimes things just happen, you
shots] Second plane hits other tower.
interposition:] Footage from old movie of dozens
of reporters, press cards in hats, racing to antique
phone booths outside city hall to call in "scoops"
"When you don't have time to brush, use 9/11 gum.
Keeps your teeth clean and your breath fresh."
shots] People leaping to deaths from towers. Footage
of each tower collapsing.
"... no matter what kind of day you have."
Product appears in slow fade in from columns of
smoke over ground zero.
to]: Woman, dressed in black mourning garb. She
is kneeling by flag draped coffin, fingering rosary.
Face is not visible. Shoulders are heaving convulsively.
female, understood to be woman in shot]: "My husband
was one of 2,700 people who died that awful morning."
and cut to] Woman, dressed in summer garb, walking
along pretty park or garden path. Pensive, introspective,
looking at pathway in front of her.
same voice, female] "My husband understood the
importance of good dental care." Woman pauses
to finger flower growing along path. Looks reflectively
up at sky, pulls in breath, stifling sob. "If
he had stopped at the local convenience store
to pick up a pack of 9/11 gum that morning like
he usually did, he might still be alive today."
cut to product image. VO original male narrator]:
"9/11 gum, Because some days, you just don't have
time to brush."
folks, what do you think? Is this Clio material
or what? All we need now is a product called "9/11
Gum" and we're good to go.
worry about people who think an ad like that is
objectionable. The psychiatrists tell us they
WANT us to talk about 9/11, and that's just what
this ad does.
why can't we make a little money while we're doing
it? Are you against capitalism and the American
if, despite my brilliant reasoning, you are still
recoiling in disgust against my proposed ad, reflect
is absolutely no difference between an ad selling
chewing gum, and one trying to sell a presidential
sometimes the gum is of better quality.
otherwise, there is no difference. Both are commodities
that you are trying to persuade the public to
buy, and what you exploit in how you sell it,
the tactics and integrity you use, speaks both
about the product itself, and the people who are
trying to sell it.
rule of thumb, generally good in regular advertising,
and nearly iron-clad in political advertising,
is "the shabbier the ads, the shabbier the product."
Putsch would stoop, right off the bat, in an opening
salvo, to using the disaster at 9/11 for political
purposes (standing in front of the images of a
flag-draped body being removed from the wreckage
of the Twin Towers, apparently hoping we all forgot
that at the time that image was being filmed,
he was, in reality, in panicked flight around
the country) comes as no surprise. He's a disgraceful
product, and it should be unremarkable that he
uses disgraceful advertising tactics. There will
be worse to come, no doubt.
what is amazing is the utter arrogance and stupidity
of the White House in facing the storm of protest
that the 9/11 ads engendered. Instead of withdrawing
the ads, they tried to brazen it out.
that the ads were meant to encourage public discourse
about the disaster (even as the administration
continues to stonewall against the Congressional
investigation into what happened that day), they
brushed aside the objectors, many of whom were
relatives of victims in the Towers, including
the widow, seven months' pregnant at the time,
of the body used to promote Putsch's heroic image
in the ad. Instead, they found some depressed
drabs who were willing to intone that they didn't
mind Putsch using the their dead as a springboard
for the campaign.
of course, the right wing trash media, ranging
from the Wall Street Journal all the way down
to NewsMax, pulled out their most familiar rabbit:
they blamed Clinton. Clinton, they falsely claimed,
had used images from the Oklahoma City bombing
in order to bolster his campaign in the days after
pressed, they had to admit that all they really
had was mention made by right wing disgrace and
toe-sucker Dick Morris, now a firm part of their
nasty little camp, that he (Morris, not Clinton)
considered using the images in the days following
right wing noise. When Putsch does something stupid
and ugly, as he so often does, try to excuse it
by saying Clinton did something stupid and ugly.
If that doesn't work, say a Clinton acquaintance,
now turncoat, THOUGHT about doing something stupid
That's the ticket.
knew Putsch was going to exploit 9/11. After all,
it's the only reason his approval ratings didn't
just drift down into the thirties in 2001 and
stay there for the rest of his single term. 9/11
was the best thing that ever happened to him,
and he's going to use it as much as he can. He
has nothing else to show for his three years in
office except for his super-rich masters.
Kerry would be wise to address 9/11. NOT use it
in his ads. We already know it's tacky and ugly,
and won't be improved by having both candidates
running slo-mo shots of the buildings falling.
But Kerry, if he's smart (and he is) should start
TALKING about 9/11. What happened, why the investigation
is so slow, what the White House is trying to
hide, and why Putsch acted so peculiarly on that
only will that approach not piss off the relatives
of the victims and every decent person in America,
but America will actually benefit from it.
of course, for Putsch. Real, open discourse about
9/11 is the last thing he wants. He just wants
to exploit the images.
won't hurt for Kerry to set an example by contrast.
shot] People leaping from windows; towers collapsing.
I'm sure New Yorkers will be thrilled at this
opportunity to support capitalism.
Hmm. You know, maybe I should become an ad writer.
Posted: March 7, 2004