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Electorally speaking, 2022 bids farewell with Democrats still in control of the Senate, a very slim Republican majority in the House of Representatives and $16 billion spent on political campaigns. Much of that money was spent on political ads, designed to persuade independent voters or energize the base.
From small to large productions, these videos turn politicians into actors for almost a minute and provide the opportunity to quickly reach a mass audience. Everything is thought out, from the dress of the candidate in question, to what the lady in the background is eating in a restaurant.
Once all the campaigns are over, it’s time to reward the most creative and effective in the world of ads. From 5 to 1, this is the ranking of the best ads of the midterm elections.
No. 5: “Forgotten places” by John Fetterman
John Fetterman beat the odds and defeated Mehmet Oz by five points in Pennsylvania to become Senator-elect and Pat Toomey’s successor. He tried to portray himself as a different kind of Democrat, able to connect with working people and the “forgotten places” of the state, something more characteristic of Republican campaigns.
While the still Lt. Governor is a tall, fairly recognizable-looking guy, his towering figure didn’t come into the picture until second 42, which reinforces the following message: the campaign isn’t about me, it’s about you, the people of Pennsylvania.
In addition, the candidate broke down the urban/rural divide to show both realities and engage with both audiences, creating a comprehensive, all-encompassing video. This was produced for the Democratic primaries, which Fetterman easily won with 58% of the vote and with all counties behind his name. A well-crafted ad with an accurate message, justly deserving of fifth place in the ranking.
No. 4: “Results” by Ron DeSantis
Spoiler alert: this will not be the only appearance of the Florida governor in this ranking. His campaign was very creative when it came to crafting his ads and this one was no exception. With the difficult task of focusing all of his policies in 60 seconds, “Results” is a tribute to the agenda DeSantis pursued since taking office in 2019.
Specifically, it highlights how the governor’s policies helped different groups, from a police officer, with his supportive rhetoric toward law enforcement, to a child, because of his refusal to close schools during the pandemic. The message they tried to convey was that DeSantis is a successful one-term governor and this is what he has done.
The ad stars 21 people, all representing a particular cause and thanking DeSantis towards the end of the ad.
No. 3: “Always Be Yourself Unless You Suck” by John Kennedy
Louisiana’s charismatic senator was not to be absent from this ranking. No matter the issue at hand, Kennedy always manages to bring a smile to the audience’s face and his re-election campaign was no exception to this rule. “Always Be Yourself Unless You Suck,” is a homespun moral that was enough to get the lawmaker onto the podium.
Kennedy doesn’t need much to entertain people. This time, he stood in front of the camera, green screen in the background, and simply boasted of his folksy sincerity. With his characteristic southern accent, he sent those who were offended by his manner to get themselves an “emotional support pony.”
Finally, this time looking in the mirror, he took the courage to slip in a piece of advice for all his voters: “Always be yourself, unless you suck,” drawing a smile and perhaps eliciting a chuckle from those watching the ad.
No. 2: “Warnock Knows” by Raphael Warnock
One of the most viral ads of the cycle features Raphael Warnock, who performs very well on camera and earned a full term in the Upper House. For the senator, what mattered most was not celebrity status or athletic accomplishments, but “who is ready to represent Georgia.”
The video begins with the pastor on a running track, acknowledging to the four winds that, in a sports competition, he had no chance of beating his opponent, an accomplished athlete. However, Warnock put aside the sports outfit, put on his senatorial clothes, and tried to convince voters that he was the best choice to be their voice in the Upper House. The short is very well made, and entertaining and also seeks to reinforce the idea that Warnock goes out of his way to get things to voters.
Obviously, he did not do badly, since he won the race by 2.8%, ensured that Georgia will have two Democratic senators until 2026 and took second place in this ranking that rewards the best ads of 2022. If you haven’t seen it, we recommend you take a look at it and, in case you have already played it, you have probably done so more than once.
No. 1: “Top Gov” by Ron DeSantis
A work of art. Dubbed by international media as the “greatest campaign ad of the season,” it put DeSantis in Tom Cruise’s shoes and quickly became a rage on social media.
With top-notch production, the plot unfolds in the “freedom headquarters,” from where DeSantis, in a very executive look and tight boots, explains the mission of the day, “taking on the corporate media.”
Seconds later in combat gear, the governor explains the slogans while clips of his discussions with popular reporters appear, generating a climax that ends on an airplane, where his son’s appearance brings a touch of tenderness to the ad. Reinforcing his image as a family man, the four-year-old Mason caps off the ad with a “let’s turn and burn.”
Joaquín Núñez es licenciado en comunicación periodística por la Universidad Católica Argentina. Se especializa en el escenario internacional y en la política nacional norteamericana. Confeso hincha de Racing Club de Avellaneda. Contacto: [email protected] // Joaquín Núñez has a degree in journalistic communication from the Universidad Católica Argentina. He specializes in the international scene and national American politics. Confessed fan of Racing Club of Avellaneda. Contact: [email protected]