Daily Ad Track

Posted November 6, 2012 at 2:07pm

On Friday, we noted the 10 toughest ads of the cycle. For our last Daily Ad Track here on Election Day, we take a look at the best ads of the cycle. Some are negative, some are positive, some are defensive. But all cut through the clutter this year:

10. New Hampshire 1

Group sponsoring the ad: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Women’s testimonials have cluttered television screens, but there was something about a montage of tough guys with facial hair talking about “women’s medical issues” that made us stop.


9. Massachusetts 6

Group sponsoring the ad: Tisei Congressional Committee

There were some tough ads about Rep. John Tierney (D) and his family’s legal problems, but this spot gently gives voters in this heavily Democratic district permission to cross the aisle.

8. Wisconsin Senate

Group sponsoring the ad: Service Employees International Union Committee on Political Education

It is rare to see a national group create an ad that is so subtly local. Without the fight song “On Wisconsin!” serving as an emphasis for state pride, this would be just another political ad among many in the Badger State.



7. Indiana Senate

Group sponsoring the ad: Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

Normally, a mashup of a candidate’s greatest hits of soundbites makes us yawn. But the sequencing of these is devastating.




6. South Dakota At-Large

Group sponsoring the ad: Kristi For Congress

In her two runs for the House, Rep. Kristi Noem (R) has had some of the best ads. Many GOP House candidates took a cue from 2010, and as soon as Democrats charged that they were weak on Medicare, they rolled out ads featuring elderly family members. Noem’s ad almost escaped our notice because her race is so uncompetitive, but it was the trend’s best.



5. Montana Senate

Group sponsoring the ad: Montanans for Rehberg

How better to say that a Senator has a twin ideology to a president than with … twins?! The sisters in this spot for Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) proved so popular that they made more ad appearances to help make Rehberg’s case that Sen. Jon Tester (D) is too closely aligned with the president.




4. Connecticut Senate

Group sponsoring the ad: Linda McMahon For Senate 2012

There was just something mesmerizing about this spot from former WWE CEO Linda McMahon (R). Nearly every Connecticut political observer credits her heavy ad spending as the reason she been able to make this race as competitive as it is. But with this ad and others her campaign put on the air, it was the quality, not just the quantity.




3. Utah 4

Group sponsoring the ad: National Republican Congressional Committee

Talking points are dangerous. In this NRCC spot in support of Mia Love, Rep. Jim Matheson’s (D) statements are split-screened with the president’s to tie the two together. The committee used a similar tactic in a 2011 Nevada special election, but this ad might even be more politically lethal in Utah — a state decidedly unfriendly to President Barack Obama.




2. Georgia 12

Group sponsoring the ad: Friends of John Barrow

If Rep. John Barrow (D) returns to Congress, he can thank his “Don Draper.” Over the past several months, he most consistently produced the best ads we saw from any campaign.



1. Massachusetts 6

Group sponsoring the ad: Tisei Congressional Committee

This is one of the riskiest ads we have ever seen — it expects the audience to get the joke.

The joke, of course, is that the Boston market has been overly saturated over the course of the campaign, and this spot offered a 30 second respite to viewers.

“Anyone who watches a half an hour of TV a night in Boston media market during the last month of an election like this, where you have presidential, Senate and Congressional, they’re absolutely sick of political advertising,” said campaign manager Paul Moore. “That spot alone would not be a very good way to advertise. But it was a humorous way to acknowledge that voters are sick of all the political ads.”

The production of the spot cost the campaign only about $1,800 in total, he said.




Joshua Miller, Shira Toeplitz and Kyle Trygstad contributed to this report.