Thursday, March 6, 2008

It's 3 a.m. and I'm a wimp

I finally gave in and checked out Hilary Clinton's "It's 3 a.m." ad on YouTube. I have to say, I'm completely disappointed. I was thinking horror film. Instead, it's all warm and fuzzy pictures of children rolling around in their beds with their little teddy bears. Never mind that it's too talky. Leave it to the Democrats to make things saccharine and sappy. The ad almost seems polite. It's like, let's scare the people, but let's be very reassuring while we do it.

I miss the Cold War, when campaigns could scare the heck out of the American public with television commercials. Lyndon Johnson's Daisy commercial, the one that starts with the girl picking flowers and ends in a nuclear explosion, that's a classic campaign commercial. You think that didn't get voters to the polls? Or Ronald Reagan's The Bear ad, which was a bit spooky and mysterious.

The 3 a.m. commercial I want? Less family film and more The Shining. You start in a drably-colored austere looking room or hallway. In the distance sits a table with a red phone on top. The phone starts to ring. And not that wimpy little modern pulse tone. I want it to be an old-fashioned phone. Heck, I want it to be an ancient rotary dial number, like some artifact from the fifties or sixties. And when that thing gives that old-school earth-rattling jolt, I want it to seem like the room is moving. The voice intones "It's 3 a.m. at the White House ... " and the script continues, slowly, ominously, as the camera moves slowly down the hallway or across the room and closes in on the phone. At the end, it stops in freeze-frame and mid-ring. "Who do you want to pick up the line?" Fade to black.
Now that's a commercial.

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