The creepy and the credible: Two attack ads

Mark Kennedy's most recent ad dials up the attack: with the words "Broken Promises" flashing on-screen and eerie music, the commercial lays out Kennedy's accusations about Klobuchar's failures as a prosecutor. The gist: Klobuchar promised to be tough on drug felons, "career criminals," and people who commit gun crimes, but wasn't. Klobuchar's campaign fired off a press release calling Kennedy's ads "desperate" and "misleading," citing Klobuchar's 91% conviction rate. Tonight, they've followed it up with a compelling ad that uses real crime victims to underscore the point.

Kennedy goes for a creepy aesthetic with his ad. The music is somewhere between the X-Files theme song and a soundbed Fox News might use in an investigative piece on pedophilia: tinkling, off-key... creepy. We see Amy Klobuchar, framed as if viewed through a peephole or hidden camera, as she says, "The best way to look at someone to see if they're going to do good work for you is to see what they've done in the past." Throughout the rest of the spot, Klobuchar's words echo as if a horror film's ominous recollection--"see what they've done in the past... the past"--as text appears on screen listing off her alleged "BROKEN PROMISES." The overall tone is dark and sensational--a far cry from Klobuchar's new ad, "Ashamed."

Klobuchar's ad features victims of identity theft, drunk drivers, and a gang shooting to emotionally convey her prosecutorial credentials. Most arresting is the testimonial by the parents of Tyesha Edwards, the young girl killed in South Minneapolis by a stray gang bullet while doing homework in the family's Chicago Avenue home. The spot doesn't manipulate these people--or the viewers--by sensationalizing their suffering; unlike Kennedy's ad, this one uses modest typography and fairly generic music, and lets the victims speak for themselves. While offering the campaign a way to slip in KIobuchar's endorsement by police, the spot smartly lets Mrs. Edwards deliver the spot's eponymous accusation: "Mark Kennedy, you should be ashamed."

adMN is an ongoing review of communications created to shape Minnesota's campaigns and culture.

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