Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer is trying to make his presence known in the 2014 election cycle, pledging to spend more than $100 million in support of Democratic candidates, but experts say his ads are "bizarre" and "not believable."
Steyer has already had his attack ads against Iowa Republican Joni Ernst dismantled by the fact checkers at PolitiFact who rated his ad "false," but content is not the only problem for Steyer's ads, which go to great lengths to stand out from the rest of the political ads that hit the air.
The ads feature some bizarre scenes, such as a CEO who wants to build the Keystone XL pipeline yelling "Yippee!" as he slides down a pipeline and is soaked with oil, or an ad that just features two chicks meant to portray Charles and David Koch.
Political experts told Politico that this tactic is not effective:
"They’re unconventional in some cases, a bit bizarre in some cases, a bit opaque, more than the usual amount of snark, visually different in many cases," said Elizabeth Wilner, vice president of Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group. "The ads taken together are obviously made to stand out in some way." […]
A Washington Post writer called it "surely one of the most bizarre political ads of the 2014 election — and not really bizarre in a good way." […]
"Good ads communicate with people and don’t yell at them," said Sheinkopf, a member of the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign media team. "These ads yell at people [and] they’re not believable. They’re not going to create a relationship between the viewer and the ad."
Steyer is not cutting corners with his campaign, and is using his millions on the same firm that created the ads for Barack Obama's presidential campaigns.
Steyer’s aides say the ads are meant to be striking and unconventional — and they’re certainly no amateur operation: His more recent TV spots were handled by GMMB, the award-winning firm that worked on both of President Barack Obama’s White House campaigns. The ads are part of Steyer’s pledge to spend $100 million or more to influence seven bellwether Senate and gubernatorial races this November.