Why Bush is a bad man in 30 seconds or less

An American online advocacy group has invited members of the public to create their own home-made, 30-second commercials that put the boot into President George W Bush. The MoveOn.org Voter Fund wants to air anti-Bush commercials in swing states during 2004 and has assembled a heavy-weight group of judges to consider entries submitted via the web. The winning spot will actually appear on television in the run-up to the poll.

The idea seems to be that most political advertising is put together by consultants, campaign managers and slick advertising professionals. These commercials, on the other hand, will have an original, gutsy and homespun feel – ideal for reaching out to real Americans.

I’ll certainly be interested to see the results. Those of us involved in creating ads or other marketing material on a day-to-day basis are often dismissive when clients or other ‘non-professionals’ suggest ideas. Our natural snobbery and pride leads us to assume that they’ll be naive at best and probably hopelessly embarrassing. Sometimes we’re right. But I also believe there is a huge well of untapped creativity out there among people who don’t have the word ‘creative’ in their job title. As a lecturer, I often show ads to students that have provoked much back-slapping at advertising awards ceremonies, but draw a complete blank in the classroom.

My prediction is that we’ll see more and more homemade advertising as the years roll on, mainly due to advances in technology and increased accessibility. Perhaps the advertising agencies of 2050 will be one-man or one-woman bands? Much as they were when they first started up in the nineteenth century.

Oh, and another prediction. I think Mr Bush will probably be re-elected. Sorry, guys.

© Phil Woodford, 2003. All rights reserved.

Phil Woodford is a creative director at a London-based advertising agency and a lecturer in advertising theory. www.philwoodford.com

Reference site: www.bushin30seconds.org