Back in late October, we asked you for suggestions for the Best and Worst political ads in Colorado this cycle. We took your suggestions and combed through YouTube searching for more candidates for Best and Worst political ads of 2014, and we've come up with finalists in both categories. Today we're posting the "WORST" ads of the cycle, with the "BEST" coming tomorrow; we'll put the finalists to a vote to see which TV ads Colorado Pols readers think stood out the most this year.
How do we distinguish a "Good" advertisement from a "Bad" ad? There are a lot of different approaches for this kind of thing, but we decided to keep it simple and visceral. Our criteria:
► INSTANT IMPRESSION: A good political ad should stand out immediately in your mind — if you need to watch a particular ad a dozen times to make your decision, then it wasn't that good, and it certainly wasn't memorable.
► PRODUCTION VALUE: Does the ad look like a 6th-grader made it with cheap movie-editing software? On the other hand, does the ad look over-produced and too melodramatic?
► MESSAGING: Is the ad clear about the candidate or issue it hopes to influence? Is it easy to understand without trying to cram too many talking points into 30 seconds?
► IMPACT: Rarely is one political ad responsible for determining the outcome in a particular race, and we didn't want to limit the discussion to candidates and campaigns that were victorious on Election Night. The Secretary of State race is a good example here; Democrat Joe Neguse was responsible for our favorite ad of the cycle, while Republican Wayne Williams (the winner in the SOS race) starred in some truly terrible spots. In this category, we also consider any negative effects from the ad in question — did the ad backfire and end up harming the candidate or issue it was designed to promote? Finally, we judge impact based on how we think the ad influenced an average voter; if a voter knew nothing else about the candidate or issue, would this ad be enough to get that voter leaning in the right direction?
► ONCE, TWICE, THRICE: We look at each ad three times, using the time-honored tactic of watching once with the sound off and once without looking at the screen (for an audible-only impression). This can be a critical test for a TV ad, and you can always tell when somebody got sloppy and didn't run through the proper tests before they released the spot to the networks. Going through this process is intended to help catch any potential problems before the ad was finalized. For example, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez's infamous 2006 ad, which features the candidate standing next to the rear end of a horse, looks a lot different when you turn off the sound. To anyone watching the Beauprez ad at home without being able to hear the full audio, the visual takeaway is: Bob Beauprez = A Horse's Ass. Certainly not what they intended.
Follow the link below to view our list of the WORST political ads of the 2014 cycle: