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Funny Wins with TV Ads

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Democrat Ken Gordon, who is running for secretary of state against Republican Mike Coffman, has a great new ad online where he is literally swimming with the sharks. It is the kind of ad that could win Gordon this seat, and it’s an approach that I’m surprised more candidates don’t take when running for office — particularly when running for an office like secretary of state, which the public doesn’t really understand or find all that interesting.

The quirky, funny approach with political advertising worked for Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper when he first ran in 2003, but it has rarely been repeated. Many people I talked with at the time didn’t know much about Hickenlooper but loved the ads where he walked around putting money into parking meters. Those ads made Hick interesting and different, and they were particularly effective when every other candidate for mayor was running the same boring talking head ads about how much they loved Denver. Gordon’s ad will work for the same reason: Every other political ad on TV is either a negative attack or a boring montage of different issues. People will like Gordon’s ad because it is different and fun, and it will make him likable. We’ll find out soon enough if it will make him a winner.

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