Hillsman and his North Woods Advertsing get away with the gag thanks to the softening power of illustration, likening bureaucrats to "buttheads" (or worse) while casting Mihos as the independent who'll ask tough questions. Just as Hillsman did for Jesse Ventura, the ad has raised Mihos' profile--one measure of a good ad is whether paid placements generate additional free media coverage. "He’s probably gotten more attention because of this ad than virtually anything he’s done in this campaign," says Paul Watanabe, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts-Boston.
According to a recent poll, the Big Dig is an issue Massachusetts voters are steamed about: 86% of those polled think problems with the project (including a tunnel collapse that killed a motorist) have harmed the state's reputation. The same survey also includes a sobering fact for Mihos: he's got the support of just over five percent of voters.
adMN is an ongoing review of communications created to shape Minnesota's campaigns and culture.