UPDATE #2: TIME Magazine declares this the Most Sexist Republican Ad of the Year.
UPDATE: It looks like "Say Yes To Bob Beauprez" was just one of multiple nearly identical videos produced by the College Republicans–others being on behalf of Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, and many more. In response, the Democratic Governors Association's Sabrina Singh released the following statement blasting them all equally:
"The ads produced by the College Republican National Committee are further evidence that Republican gubernatorial candidates like Rick Scott, Bob Beauprez, and Bruce Rauner still have no idea how to communicate with women voters. That's because it's not just their words that are condescending and insulting, but because their policies – from deep cuts to education to opposition to equal pay for equal work, to mandatory ultrasounds and defunding Planned Parenthood – are deeply out-of-touch with the concerns of women and families. That's a big part of why they'll lose in November."
Gawker's Sam Biddle has a theory:
If this seems like an impossible stupid way to convince anyone to do anything, let's walk through the metaphor. Everyone loves TLC's hit shows—if everyone loves these shows, and the shows are the same as the GOP, then everyone will love the GOP? The two organizations even have the same number of letters, and rhyme, so you can see how some strategist somewhere thought the video would work.
The Wall Street Journal has a response from the College Republican National Committee:
The ad, running for a full minute, is longer than most, and its content stands out amid the more staged candidate-run ads and the ominous issue ads run by outside groups. The trick, says CRNC national chairman Alex Smith, is to start a conversation.
“How do you reach the generation that has their earbuds in and their minds turned off to traditional advertising?” she said. “It’s our goal to start the conversation by presenting ourselves in a culturally relevant way.”
If by "culturally relevant" they mean "laughingstock," the CRNC might be on to something.
Sometimes an idea that sounds really great in a strategy meeting just doesn't work out when applied to the real world. In politics like other advertising, this can have real consequences, with the embarrassment of a bad idea doing more damage than the good that might have been done even if the concept had succeeded brilliantly. If you're a producer of creative content, you never want to be on the hook for this.
Apropos, the College Republican National Committee released a new web video today in support of Colorado GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez. A video that, to put it charitably, needed a lot more focus grouping before being allowed to see the light of day:
The spot seems to be meant to parody TLC's Say Yes to the Dress, a cable TV show about a bridal shop in New York City. If you happen to know about that relatively obscure television show, which we did, you have more context for what's going on than most viewers.
For everyone else, it's just bizarre. Why is this girl trying on a dress named "The Bob Beauprez?" Why is the girl's mother happy with all these bad things about the "John Hickenlooper" dress? What about viewers who think, style wise, the "John Hickenlooper" dress looks better?
Because it kind of does to us.
There's just too many ways this video can leave viewers with an impression wholly counterproductive to the ad's intent–that is, making Bob Beauprez look good to young voters. It's like watching what some old guy thinks young people would want to see, but it's more like showing a bad 1980s sitcom to today's media savvy kids. And again, if you don't know exactly what it is they're parodying, it comes off as insultingly shallow to young women like those portrayed in the ad. Otherwise known as the targets.
We can't even give this a "too clever by half," because that's double the praise it deserves.