You have got to watch the latest web ad out of the governor’s race the Georgia. It features an ox, a rat, Barack Obama and the Eiffel Tower. Seriously.
Produced by state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine’s (R) campaign in house, the animated video, which is entertaining at best and slightly disturbing at worst, portrays Oxendine’s likely Democratic opponent, former Gov. Roy Barnes as a power hungry rat. The theme hearkens back to a controversial – and effective – ad that Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) ran in 2002 against Barnes.
Perdue’s 2002 rat ad, which was made by GOP ad guru Fred Davis, created significant buzz and the Republican went on to defeat the incumbent Barnes by five points. That ad wasn’t animated and instead featured a giant costumed rat traipsing through Georgia.
Oxendine is currently locked in a large Republican primary field and his campaign said that is the motivation behind the ad. Jeff Breedlove, Oxendine’s chief strategist, said they want the primary contest to be focused on who is best suited to take on Barnes in the general election. “We think that the first Republican who is able to establish they are the one that can be the successor to defeat Barnes will be in the strongest position,” he said.
The ad was also message testing for the Oxendine campaign, according to Breedlove. The Oxendine camp wants to see they can brand their candidate as the ox. Oxendine’s name goes almost unmentioned in the ad and a silhouette of an ox is Oxendine’s campaign logo. Similarly, they are also looking to see if the rat label sticks with Barnes.
The Barnes camp responded in a statement and sounded none too pleased. “We are all tied of petty politics, campaign gimmicks and personal attacks,” the statement said. “If this is their solution to the serious issues that face Georgia – water, education, transportation and jobs – we now know where they stand.”
Breedlove acknowledged that the campaign has taken some flack over the ad, which he insisted is an homage to Perdue’s 2002 spot (Fred Davis, by the way, is working for one of Oxendin’s rivals in the GOP primary, Secretary of State Karen Handel). But Breedlove also said that the web ad is accomplishing their goal. The majority of responses to the ad, which was made for about $1,000, have framed the general election as a two-way race between Barnes and Oxendine – exactly what Breedlove wanted. Breedlove also said the campaign has seen its biggest influx of online volunteers since the ad went online.
So what do you think about the ad? Clever or odd? Effective or detrimental? The comments section awaits below.
Jeremy P. Jacobs is the staff writer at Politics. He can be reached at email@example.com