'Mailbox' Ad Against Sen. Mary Landrieu Highlights Families Rocked by Obamacare
by Tony Lee 12 Feb 2014, 2:23 PM PDT
A new advertisement against Obamacare will run on television stations statewide in Louisiana to highlight Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) support of the law does not use obscure charts, graphs, numbers, or inside-the-beltway jargon that are staples of most ads that only appeal to and are understood by stodgy consultants.
The "Mailbox" ad "looks and feels distinctly different than typical political advertising," because it visually tells the stories of families and individuals whose worlds are about to get rocked as they face the uncertainty, anxiety, and, in some cases, the devastation that will come after they are notified that their insurance plans have been canceled "due to the Affordable Care Act." Many Americans and Louisianans never expected that their plans would ever be canceled because President Barack Obama had promised them, "If you like your healthcare plan, you'll be able to keep your healthcare plan, period."
Americans for Prosperity will run the commercial, which was written, directed, and produced by Breitbart News's Minister of Culture Jon Kahn, for three weeks as part of its broader campaign to hold Landrieu, who is up for reelection this year, accountable for her support for Obamacare.
Levi Russell, a spokesman for the group, told Breitbart News that the "Mailbox" ad feels different from other staid commercials because it "cuts through the hyper-political talking points around Obamacare and connects with the heart.
"Real people are hurting. Real people are losing access to their family doctor or finding their insurance plan cancelled out from under them. We want to share that frustration and anxiety, and get past the latest smoke screen from [White House spokesman] Jay Carney," he continued. "Far too often, conservatives tend to spend too much time on the numbers, facts, and stats, and not enough time on the personal impact of the issues we engage on. The reality is there are millions of Obamacare victims, and this ad connects us with them, rather than the latest CBO report."
Americans like "Mrs. Kelly" and "Ms. Davis" in the ad receive letters informing them that their insurance plans have been canceled "due to the affordable care act," which the narrator repeatedly emphasizes to hammer home the message in a soft yet nonetheless resonant and powerful manner.
The ad also works because the hope and the optimism that the kids in the ad display when going to get mail from the mailbox are in stark contrast to the sense of foreboding that is enveloping their parents. The people and families in the ad are relatable and cast well, and their experiences are familiar to millions of Americans who have had to endure the same or are fretting about potentially getting one of those letters when the various Obamacare exemptions expire in the coming years.
Another strategist told Politico that the spot "attempts to cut through the hyper-political world of Obamacare, and connect us with the real, visceral frustration and anxiety that millions of Americans feel," and it does so because the images "represent Americans from all walks of life. Parents with children, young professionals, blue collar workers."
Few ad makers are able to hit that sweet spot that combines substance and emotion in order to make viewers interested in the ad and, in the end, remember the ad and its message. But it is a formula that Kahn seems to have patented, as he did during the 2012 election cycle with his "Dinner Table" ad that resonated with Americans whose worlds were turned upside down when they lost jobs in Obama's economy.
As Breitbart News reported then:
The “Dinner Table” ad features a recently unemployed father trying to eat dinner with his worried wife and two kids. The only sounds that can be heard are the tinkling of utensils as the family unnervingly pokes at their food. It is a scene that has been played in real life in millions of homes across America during the Great Recession and the so-called recovery.
The ad was hailed as one of the more memorable—and moving—ads of the 2012 cycle, and Kahn was praised for thinking outside the box (the ad had no dialogue) in a way that put human faces and emotions on the statistics those in Washington simply just like to cite or throw around with no rhyme or reason.
Democrats in red states who supported Obamacare—like Landrieu and Sens. Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Kay Hagan (D-NC)—are trying to run away from the law as quickly as they can to save their political careers. The botched Obamacare rollout and the disastrous implementation are sinking President Barack Obama's presidency, his poll numbers, and perhaps the Democrats who stood with him.
"It is very telling that there are no Democrat Senators or Representatives out there spending money to defend their votes and support for Obamacare," Russell told Breitbart News. "In fact, a few have actually run their own attack ads bashing the law. The reality is, millions of Americans are hurting because of Obamacare, and the members who are responsible are trying to distract and change the subject."
Americans for Prosperity is hoping that the "Mailbox" commercial will cut through the clutter and fragmented television landscape and make it much tougher for Democrats like Landrieu to take the focus off of the Americans—like those in the ad—who are suffering because they rammed through the Affordable Care Act.