Monday, October 17, 2005

DeStefano Ad

Update: Here's a link to the ad:

I was going to just post this as a comment, but I wrote a bit more than I thought I was going to. So it's a full-length entry.

All right, I did see the ad. I'm not posting it here, but I'm sure it'll be up on the DeStefano site soon enough.

Here's the text of the ad, and what I saw:

Fifty states, but Connecticut is last in job growth. Property taxes
skyrocketing. Endless traffic jams.

Black and white montage of sad-looking people, followed by a traffic jam. Message: the current state of affairs is bad. This is aimed at the Rell Administration, although it doesn't accuse them directly. The beginning photograph (a worker in a hard hat) is visually arresting and very eye-catching. She looks tough, but under a lot of stress. The next two images (two sad, concerned-looking white people and a traffic jam) are much less interesting, but still evocative. The music is sad.

We can do better.

The words "We can do better" appear on the screen. Music becomes more upbeat.

John DeStefano. The son of a police officer, devoted husband and father.

Picture of DeStefano surrounded by children. Old photograph of father. DeStefano on lawn with family. All of these pictures are in color (except DeStefano's father), and are bright and hopeful. People are smiling.

As New Haven Mayor, new jobs created, crime cut over 40%, dropout rate cut over 40%.
More color pictures of DeStefano on the job, working with people. The statistics appear on the screen. Why no statistic for job creation? (Actually, according to the CT. Department of Labor, New Haven's unemployment rate has spiked this year, up to around 8% in August. It was around 4% in 2000. This doesn't mean jobs weren't created, as the labor force has increased slightly.)

For Connecticut---jobs and economic growth. For our families. John DeStefano for Connecticut.

More colorful photos. Stirring music. Words like "Families" appear at the botton, re-emphasizing values and campaign themes. The ad ends with DeStefano staring off to the left with resolve, while the campaign logo appears next to him.

So here's the progression of the ad (and the basic theme of the campaign):

  1. Connecticut is in crisis. Even if you don't know it yet, it is.

  2. But there's hope! Things can change.

  3. Our candidate has a great background. He's a family man. He's like you.

  4. He's done great things in New Haven. New Haven is a lot better than you remember.

  5. He'll do great things for us, too.

No real substance yet, but it's early. A little negative for a first impression. People don't have to be told when there's a crisis: they figure it out for themselves. If a candidate pushes crisis too hard when the public doesn't feel there is one, that candidate becomes vulnerable to charges of negativity. That's the route the governor is going.

Otherwise it's a solid campaign piece. I do think, however, that people are going to be surprised to see it on the air a year before the election. Then again, the ad is meant more for the party base than anyone else. It lets them know that the Democrats are alive and kicking, and that this campaign will be hard-fought. As a message to the base, it succeeds very well indeed.


BDRubenstein888 said...

I understand from the AP Article that the ad will be on the 4 major tv channels and channel 12 in fairfield county....i hope given the wide statewide placing of this ad that its DeStefano's state gov campaign that pays for this ad and not his city campaign...paying it thru the city mayor campaign would look "slick" and wrong and would be seen as wrong as rells tv ads and/or brochures that came out...

Genghis Conn said...

It is a "DeStefano for Connecticut" ad, and it does say that it's paid for by the gubernatorial campaign. All above board.

I suppose they'll have it up on their website tomorrow.

I haven't actually seen any of the tourism ads that Rell produced, but I hear they're a lot like the Rowland tourism ads from 2002. Fishy. The "annual report" was fishy, too.

Wasn't there a bill floating around a few years ago that would have barred officials from appearing in ads like that within a year of an election? What happened to that bill?

Ebpie said...

I saw a Rell ad saying that "CT was open for business." Even if there was a one year ad ban it wouldn't matter at this point in time.

Anonymous said...

I have am a dem who has no problem with rell running CT tourism ads bc tourism does help our economy. HOWEVER, these ads should be run in neighboring states, not CT, because when trying to increase tourism shouldnt we be targeting tourists???????

Anonymous said...

After spending two hours in traffic on I-91 near Enfield, site of a sinkhole, the state failures in road maintaince are exactly on point.

Julio Gonzalez said...

I think those of us that support Mayor DeStefano would love to hear more feedback on the ad as you see it on broadcast or on our site. In particular, I'd love to hear ideas how we can effectively communicate the more intricate policy positions the Mayor has taken. As most of you know his core message is about economics, specifically:

1. The need for a cohesive job creation/economic competitiveness strategy

2. Property tax reform

3. Containing medical inflation

4. Larger transporation investment

5. College affordability and early childhood investment

It's tough to neatly package all of that into a commerical that is clear and resonates emotionally. Suggestions?

Overall, the DeStefano team is committed to running the most energetic media campaign in the state, especially since the Rell folks have no real answers except "We're not John Rowland!" And if you look at this recent stream of sketchy developments such as the taxpayer funded "annual report" and tourism ads, maybe they are not so different after all.

Quinn said...

The Annual Report wasn't fishy. It was way too blantantly obvious to be fishy. If you see it, you don't suspect its campaign literature, you assume its common knowledge.

Realistically, DeStafano can do no more than has been done to improve highways. Where's the money going to come from? We're getting all we're going to get from the Feds. We're already spending a tremendous amount on highways out of the state budget. The biggest problem is that the bureaucracy spends too much money doing years-long studies when the solutions are common sense and obvious to any motorist. Should there be a stoplight here? Let's study it for three years! Should we put another lane in an obviously congested area? No, let's do a study, and then forget about the problem that caused it and re-pave the road! Again! Causing congestion ten times as bad!

Another obvious problem is lack of funding. Tolls might be a good idea. Tax people who use the service. The reason we took them down is because they were unsafe. So the first priority should be to expand and re-organise the highway around where the tolls would go, and then put in tolls!

The other factor is dumbass drivers who drive in the blind spot of trucks, break down in the left lane, and drive drunk. But nothing can be done about that. Unless DeStefano pledges to make bad driving a felony.

Genghis Conn said...


The highways are about as big as they're going to get, for the moment. It might be smarter to invest in better public transportation. The DOT did record a jump in public transportation use when gas prices went up during September, so people probably would use it if it were cheap (to them), efficient and everywhere.

What we have now is pretty terrible for a relatively small area with high population density.

DeanFan84 said...

My feeling is that outside of public transportation, we could majorly decrease congestion on our roads by installing variable rate tolls.

1). I was reading about a concerted effort to make it expensive for trucks to travel the I-95 corridor during peak hours. The idea is to use economic incentives, (or penalties), to have them truck at night.

2). At times when our highways are completely clogged, it is obscence to have so many solo drivers on the road. I'd like to see a toll system that taxes the heck out of solo drivers during rush hour. Charge two passenger cars a slight something, and make the roads free for three or more.

The trick is to get cars off the road during peak use. I believe the way to do that is via economic penalties, not feel-good public transportation campaigns.


P.S. John DeStefano is the only candidate I have ever heard mention the need to re-build our rail network around NYC. One of the reasons we have so many trucks on the road is b/c the railways are dysfunctional.

ct_guy said...

My first reactions:

Even if this weren't a whole YEAR out from the election, the ad itself still makes no sense strategically. Typically early ads will try and form a relationship with people, and then after a relationship exists they can start hammering away on issues. While people on this board might be tuned into the gub. race, most voters aren't yet. I think the general reaction to this ad is going to be confusion more than anything.

It's also just way too early to begin burning through money like this. As I said, most voters are not tuned in yet. There is a reason campaigns wait to buy expensive TV time... they buy when people care to listen.

I think Destefano stubbed his toe on the DVD release by thinking that people statewide would care enough to watch something like that so far out (and therefore dumped lots of cash on something he ended up mailing out - talk about the most expensive mailing EVER!). Similarly, he's getting way ahead of himself here.

Looks like it's amateur hour in New Haven once again.

Genghis Conn said...

Here's a link to it. Watch and judge for yourselves.

Dave Mooney said...

Off topic I guess but, the problem with traffic is due in part to the fact that the entities with the most control over when people are on the highways, namely employers, are not subjected to the penalties of congested highways like wasted personal time, money spent on fuel, air and water pollution, etc. Employers need some kind of incentive to get their employees off the roads at rush hour.

I think the ad is pretty good. The campaign theme of "We can do better" meets one of the basic three campaign messages:
1. I am good
2. My opponent is bad
3. I am better

Pick any two for your campaign. Play along at home. I'm guessing JD is going to have to go with #2 later on. Going with 1 and 3 won't be enough to beat JR.

JD has to set himself up as a credible candidate before he can really go negative. GC, if you think this was too negative intro ad then just wait. I think DM and JD are playing chicken with who is going to go negative first -- not against each other but against JR. You can't beat an opponent with an 80% approval rating without going viciously negative. At some point they are going to have to chip away.

Anonymous said...

These are all good and important issues. However,I'm already aware of these problems and am far more interested in what John proposes to do about them.

Genghis Conn said...

Oh, I've steeled myself for the worst.

It'll be interesting to see what direction Rell takes with ads. She has the option of running nothing but positive ads with high production values, and of barely mentioning her opponent by name. This worked well for Bill Clinton.

However, I don't think she's going to be able to resist taking potshots at whoever the Democratic nominee is.

Aldon Hynes said...

There are some neighsayers that will suggest that any efforts to get more people aware of the issues our state faces and more involved in discussions about how to address them are doomed to fail. These are the same sort of people that suggest you shouldn't make any sort of statement without talking with a lawyer first.

I hope, for that sake of our country, that they are wrong. Jefferson spoke about the need for an informed citizenry. I've written a little bit about this on the DeStefano Blog.

Last week, people watching the local news saw two big stories about the Governor's race. Blumenthal isn't running. Rell is. This week, it will stay in the news with DeStefano demonstrating what it really means to run. The neighsayers may be confused by this, but people who pay attention to the local news shouldn't find it confusing.

It looks like amatuer hour by the neighsayers once again.

Anonymous said...


Do you still work for Destefano? Your post sounds like it.

momula said...

Both Destefano and Malloy need to reach out to central and eastern CT if they want to make an impact (read: defeat Rell). For that reason, Destefano's early TV ads at least put an image in front of a large part of the electorate who has little idea who they are.
Interesting that Malloy has employed GSS, and seems to have the former Curry denizens on board. Wouldn't Destefano be more of a front-runner? What did he do to piss them off this time [baaaay-beh]? What's going on??