‘1984’ ad not a shattering experience for Dems

The well-publicized and buzz-worthy “1984” ad featuring Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) visage on a giant screen was the product of someone who worked for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

But it won’t do much for Obama’s primary candidacy, because Democrats largely yawned at the ad, according to a survey of political insiders conducted by Wilson Research Strategies.

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While the ad scored very highly among Republicans and garnered a tremendous amount of publicity, Democrats and independents both scored it mostly below average. The survey found that Democrats and independents said the spot wasn’t overly strong, effective, or appealing — despite being memorable and something they would talk about.

The ad actually scored lowest among independents in all six categories measured, which also included credibility.
On a scale of zero to 10, Republicans gave the ad a 7.6 for its strength of message and a 7.3 for its effectiveness. But Democrats scored it a 4.9 for its appeal, and independents gave it a 4.0 for credibility.

Still, with the high marks from Republicans, the ad scored among the best ever in the bi-weekly survey.

“It’s one that clearly has an impact, a strong message — but most of all is one that people talked about,” said Chris Wilson, CEO of Wilson Research Strategies. “I think we will probably see something similar to it pop up again during this primary season.”

The ad was created by Philip de Vellis, who worked for a company hired by Obama to build his website. But Obama has maintained de Vellis was not authorized to create the ad, which features an audience of drones watching Clinton speak until a woman runs in and shatters the screen.

Apple Computer ran the original ad during the 1984 Super Bowl.

The survey also measured the response to an ad for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), in which Romney discusses his fiscally conservative ideas, including a cap on non-defense discretionary spending, and his willingness to veto bills that contain too much pork.

The Romney ad scored average across the board overall, but respondents found it to be unmemorable and not something they would talk about.

Democrats and independents scored the ad similarly low across the board. But Republicans felt the ad had a strong message, giving it a 7.3 in that category, and also found it above average in its appeal and credibility.


Working with The Hill for its Air War feature, Wilson Research Strategies--e-mails  campaign or issue ads to survey participants who view the ads and rate their effectiveness on several criteria.