Monday, October 02, 2006

Farmer Nelson redux

We’ve had a number of people ask us our opinion of Pete Ricketts’ “Farmer Nelson” ad, and have of course been reading all the hullabaloo about it, and figure we may as well give our nickel’s worth.

First of all, where do the Nelson people get off calling the ad “juvenile and immature,”? Can anyone recall the “Cat in the Hat” ad, back when it was Ricketts who was crucified for protesting his valuation? (Thankfully, Don Walton can.) Back in July, we noted that the ad was “student-council-campaign-esque”. Well, the Ricketts camp can at least say their ad cost more.

Of course “Farmer Nelson” is of the Jib-Jab variety, made famous with the mocking of the Kerry-Bush race. And if nothing else, it’s pretty humorous in the various faces and outfits of Ben Nelson (and we get a kick that every scene ends with him firing the shotgun).

But our problem with the ad is that we’re not sure that it succeeds in the message that it intends to send. The ad tries to tell the narrative of how Nelson fraudulently applied for Greenbelt status on his land by claiming it was for ag use, then after he was caught, refused to pay back the full amount for which he got a break.

(We’ve noted here extensively how outrageous we think it is that Nelson has gotten a nearly 100% free-ride from the press and anyone else on this, but we can only say so-much…)

So here’s the rub: some of the words in the song are hard to understand, most people don’t know what “Greenbelt” is, trying to explain that Nelson paid part, but not all of the taxes back is difficult, and in the end, you just laugh at the funny faces.

So while we’re all for the effort of trying to tell what Nelson did and how that should make one feel about voting for him, we’re just not sure this was the best vehicle. It’s sort of a compelling story to tell, and the comedy of the spot has probably overtaken the message sent.

But then hey, the latest poll has Ricketts down by over 20 points, and this ad has people talking about the race, so who knows. At least Ricketts isn’t going down without a fight.

1 comment:

Daily Bulldog said...

This commercial is silly, and it garbles a simple message, which is "Ben Nelson cheats on his taxes".

Too bad...Bennie has the press either in his pocket or scared.