Monday, February 06, 2012


I didn't see much of the superbowl, but I did catch the Clint Eastwood "why can't you just forget the bailouts" ad for GM. The ad is well made and Clint is as effective and charismatic as ever, but the message was nonsense. First, he is trying to sell people on the notion that Detroit is on the road to recovery, that things are going to get better. Anyone who actually lives in Detroit knows better.

Second, the entire ad is a desperate attempt to get people to forget that GM makes crappy cars and got a huge bailout from the federal government, that they're still owned in part by the federal government and that the deal actually gave the UAW part ownership of the company.

Look, some day America will come back, and recover from the miserable situation we find ourselves in, most likely. But we're not past the bad parts and that ad was 8 parts Obama reelection ad and 2 parts "buy our cars." If the entertainment and news media industries can convince people we're doing great and getting even better, then President Obama has a decent shot at getting 4 more years to make things even worse. So that's what they're selling. And the GE ad run in the same highest-rated superbowl ever had the same sort of theme.

Expect a lot more of this kind of ad, too. Expect the message in all media, from stand up comedians to cereal ads to sit-coms to the "human interest" stories at your local news station to follow this basic narrative: boy things were tough because of George Bush but they're getting better now, isn't Obama great?

Count on it.

*UPDATE: the ad wasn't even filmed in Detroit.

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