When it comes to the serious business of politics, it’s easy to forget that politicians have a sense of humour. US Republican Andy McKenna announced his candidacy for the position of governor of Illinois last week and to mark the occasion launched a video called ‘Hair Today’ which features former Governor Rod Blagojevich’s hair atop the heads of Illinois citizens and politicians. The hairpiece is used as a symbol of corruption while McKenna is portrayed as an outsider to the Chicago culture of corruption.
While the advertisement is a refreshing take on hair and hair loss (the strapline is ‘hair today, gone tomorrow’) whether it has the desired effect remains to be seen. The video was created by Fred Davis, who also made John McCain’s campaign video (the one portraying Obama as the biggest celebrity in the world), and we all know the outcome of that contest.
But McKenna is confident the video and hairpiece humour will be effective. “We knew what was wrong with this primary was no one was creating any excitement,” McKenna told US newspaper Human Events, “We knew we need to do a couple things: One is to speak to their [people’s] embarrassment and anger about the failed leadership, the corruption — do it in a way that people could smile. Because we think when they smile, they also realize, ‘Yeah, we can change this'”.
And McKenna says there’s more to come: “It’s going to be the style of this campaign to do new and innovative things,” McKenna said. “We haven’t used up all our creativity.”
McKenna said he’s been getting emails, text messages, and phone calls comending the message and presentation. “I just talked to a friend today who said his college-age kid loved it and that he thought it appealed to a broader set of age groups than often happens with Republican messaging,” McKenna said last week. “Our campaign’s about uniting Republicans and also reach[ing] out to independents, and that’s part of what we really liked about this — it’s a really good primary message, but it’s also one that I think transitions very well to the general election.”
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