Rand Paul has a communications problem: he is stuck in the second tier of a 16 person Republican primary and it has become increasingly difficult for any candidate not named Donald Trump to get any attention.
So how to break through the clutter?
Here is a new ad from Paul where he proclaims his devoting to destroying the US tax code through fire, wood chipper or/and chain saw.
See for yourself here.
So how to grade his ad?
Here are the positives:
- It is creative; it’s not the usual boring political ad.
- It’s generating a tremendous amount of mainstream media and social media buzz.
- It sends a clear message that is consistent with his core libertarian, anti-tax, anti-regulation philosophy and brand.
- It displays emotional commitment to an issue many Republicans believe in.
- Its violent imagery is great on TV and is a great way of connecting at a gut level with many primary voters.
Here are the negatives:
- Setting things on fire or putting things you don’t like into a wood chipper doesn’t seem presidential to millions of voters. It’s OK as an activist to do such things, but it doesn’t strike most voters as a relevant course of action for the most powerful person on the planet.
- Posing in a t-shirt and committing acts of violence on a stack of paper will strike many voters, especially general election voters, as sophomoric.
- While everyone is against a 70,000 page tax code in the abstract, Paul essentially took his chain saw to mortgage interest deductions and charitable contribution deductions from the tax code as well. This could easily be used against him in the general election.
A+ as an ad for a GOP Primary (which is his only concern right now)
C- as an ad that could still be seen in a general election.
TJ Walker is head of Media Training Worldwide 212.764.4955