WWE: Linda McMahon Senate Campaign, Every TV Advertisement Analyzed (w/video)
We are less than one week away from what was once a hotly contested senate race in the state of Connecticut, but a race that now sees Republican challenger, and former WWE CEO, Linda McMahon trailing by double digits in most meaningful polls.
Linda McMahon has run a persistent, financially aggressive campaign, backed by upwards of over $40 million of her own
blood money which she made while overseeing business operations in the WWE as CEO.
Linda McMahon's questionable past with the WWE seems to have haunted her in spite of a shrewd, politically savvy strategy. Such a strategy has seen McMahon inundate the commercial airwaves with her likeness while avoiding any conversation of substance connecting her to the WWE and its major flaws and real life problems such as drug abuse, wrestler mortality, and the classification of wrestlers as independent contractors as opposed to employees.
McMahon has used the mass media to emphasize her strengths while hiding glaring weaknesses. McMahon's victory over Rob Simmons in the republican primaries (a victory many viewed as an upset), was greatly assisted by an aggressive yet calculated series of commercials designed to gain ground in key demographics, many of whom were unlikely to vote for Linda McMahon.
While the cumulative effect of the almost propagated commercialism by the McMahon Senate campaign seems to have defeated its own purpose, as many potential voters have admitted to being sick of the litany of advertisements paid for by Linda McMahon, the strategy was very effective in closing the gap in major polls as McMahon trailed Blumenthal by only three points. The razor thin margin in late September was a far cry from earlier polls that showed Blumenthal with a 30-point deathlock on the the former WWE CEO.
With McMahon in 'down, but not out' territory just five days way from Super Tuesday, we take a look back at every one of her TV ads, all of which have been instrumental in getting her back into a competitive Senate race.
Linda McMahon's First TV Ad
Linda McMahon came out swinging in the first of a series of commercials aimed at presenting McMahon as an 'outsider' whose limited political history creates an opportunity for something new and a much needed change in the Senate.
McMahon uses many right-wing buzzwords, while incorporating herself as a woman of the people who has come to shake up the senate for the better.
This ad, aimed primarily against Chris Dodd, who stands for the typical incumbent politic who is 'screwing up the American Economy', set the tone for a nasty, contentious and ultimately competitive campaign.
Linda McMahon: "Perserverane"
Linda McMahon continued her message of "Something Different" with a tamer version of her first TV ad.
Personally, I feel like this should have been her first ad, as she is introducing herself to America and asking the critical questions of who she is, where she's from, and why she's running for senate.
However it is obvious that McMahon was more concerned in setting an aggressive tone with her first ad before subsequently (and temporarily) settling into a more personable and tame tone.
Linda McMahon: "Pat on The Back"
Linda McMahon tackles a specific, hot button issue in this senate race of job creation. As one of her campaign promises, Linda McMahon has promised to use her business acumen to create jobs, and in this ad she attacks incumbent Senator Chris Dodd's lack of job creation with figures (that may or may not be 100 percent accurate) that speak to Dodd's inability to create jobs thus contributing to a worldwide economic epidemic.
Linda McMahon: "Back to Work"
McMahon continues her central campaign promise of job creation, while appealing to you, the small business owner. By throwing in buzz words (taxes, spending, less government) that would appeal to the average republican voter, McMahon does a simple yet effective job (pun intended) of emphasizing her intention to create jobs as a traditional conservative Senator.
Linda McMahon "Revolving Door"
In "Revolving Doors", Linda McMahon reminds voters of the ongoing economic downturn, and blames career politicians for the problems we face today.
Playing the outsider card, McMahon is using a strategy currently used by fellow businesswomen Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman (both in California).
The jury is still out on whether or not this strategy will prove effective for new coming politics from the business world touting their strong records in job creation.
Linda McMahon: "Enough Is Enough"
With the assistance of the typical voter, Linda McMahon, obviously anticipating a heavy ad campaign, takes a break from being the star of her own commercial as she lets you, the
actor voter sing her praises.
McMahon sticks with her "something new" tagline to keep it fresh in voters minds that politicians in present day are not getting the job done.
I find it quite ironic that one particular voter claimed that Politics is not 'The Old Boys Network' anymore, however McMahon comes from the ultimate Old Boys Network of professional wrestling.
Linda McMahon: "Real"
Linda McMahon continues to turn it over to the potential voter as everyday Americans use buzzwords to make Linda McMahon seem more appealing to a mass audience.
McMahon has often been criticized for her wooden personality and contrived speeches. However this particular commercial talks up Linda McMahon as "approachable", "sincere", and "tough".
Linda McMahon: "Regular Job"
Coming under harsh criticism for her past as a CEO of WWE, a company notorious for airing questionable content directed at children as well as its shady history of wrestler deaths and classification of its workers, Linda McMahon counters her critics by making light of negative sentiments about her 'regular job.'
McMahon cleverly dismisses the WWE as product (and ultimately its dark past and present) as a product that 'isn't real' in order to make potential critics self-conscious about digging too deep into the WWE's flaws.
This was the most focus Linda McMahon's WWE career has received to this point, yet she immediately transitions into the key issues of job creation and budget spending that she believes she will successfully execute on the republican ticket.
Linda McMahon: "Whiteboard"
While Linda McMahon's commercials were easy to follow and effectively got across her central points of job creation and something different, she was still coming under criticism for being too contrived.
McMahon made a slight adjustment to her Senate campaign ad format in "Whiteboard" by actively participating in an activity while emphasizing her message.
The student to teacher format helped make Linda McMahon appear a bit more lax in this particular advertisement
Linda McMahon: "Cup of Tea"
Linda McMahon has a Sarah Palin quality about her where her personality rubs other women the wrong way. With the critical demographic of potential female voters showing a very unfavorable opinion of McMahon, McMahon shot a series of commercials specifically targeted at said women.
The first of these two ads was her "Cup of Tea" commercial where she uses a conversation between two All-American women to once again dismiss her former field of pro wrestling as a "soap opera" and a "traveling show", while talking up her ability to create jobs in the very state of Connecticut while CEO of the WWE.
Linda McMahon: "Shocked"
The race gets downright dirty in this one as the McMahon Senate campaign denigrates Blumenthal as a shady politician who took money from special interests. This is just one of many ads intended to call into question Blumethal's honesty and integrity, two qualities in which Linda McMahon seems to think qualify one to be a Senator.
Linda McMahon sticks with the platform of the women in the car to appeal to the female voter while discussing unfavorable statistics of Blumenthal and his ties to special interest groups.
Linda McMahon: "Stand Up"
McMahon continues to go on the offensive against Dick Blumenthal as she once again brings up his slippery past of taking money from the PAC special interest group.
Unlike her previous two ads, McMahon used a general narrator and did not appear to be targeting any specific demographic as much as she appeared to be educating voters on a potential red flag with her senatorial opponent.
Linda McMahon: "Mis-Speaking With Dick Blumenthal"
Linda McMahon goes the comedy route yet another ad attacking Blumenthal's honesty. This viral ad criticizes Blumethal for a fundraising trip to Canada in which he 'mis-spoke' of, and continues to remind voters of Blumethal taking money from special interest groups.
It is quite interesting how this particular string of ads, most of which are directly attacking Blumenthal, de-emphasize Linda McMahon's presence. This could be seen as a shrewd move as people are generally turned off by hearing candidates themselves mudslinging in their commercials.
Having a general narrator, or a pair of women in a conversational setting, carry out the task of criticizing McMahon's opponent creates the illusion of neutrality, when in reality these are paid actors and narrators all working under the McMahon ticket.
Linda McMahon: "Judy"
This commercial is odd and somewhat misplaced. Who is Judy? This commercial informs us that this otherwise anonymous figure is friends with Linda McMahon, but all that tells me as a voter is that this woman has an obvious agenda to defend her friend.
This particular commercial hardly seems as effective as a 'friends in high places' commercial. If Judy were Keith Richards, or a real celebrity, it would be easier to overlook the agenda factor thus making it easier to be influenced by what the celebrity says about the candidate.
Judy is Linda McMahon's friend. That's all I know about her, so I'll be taking everything she says with a grain of salt as she has somewhat of an obligation to help her buddy Linda. This is why celebrities work so well in these spots as, even if they are listed as friends of a candidate, their celebrity makes it harder to dismiss their sentiments as easily as it was for me to dismiss Judy's conversational praise of Linda McMahon.
Linda McMahon: "Jobs"
Linda McMahon goes back to her theme of job creation while providing a not so subtle reminder of her standing as an outsider. Small business owners and/or the unemployed, a very critical voting group, were the target demographic in this ad as McMahon pushed a familiar message of change and creating new jobs.
Linda McMahon: "Lunch Box"
The "Lunch Box" ad was designed to spark interest among the various unemployed as well as the blue collar worker, who would be more likely to vote republican. Linda McMahon herself is dressed appropriately for the matter, as she dons a blue blouse equipped with a - wait for it - blue collar.
Aided by an accommodating setting, of a kitchen, McMahon appears to be doing a slightly better job of appearing natural in her delivery with a simple message aimed at the simple man.
Linda McMahon: "Blumenthal's Energy Tax"
In a rare move by the McMahon Senate campaign, this particular commercial directly attacks a liberal-friendly issue of energy tax.
This quick-hitting ad uses Blumenthal's support of Energy tax to remind voters of a democrat's tendency to add new taxes in the face of an economic crisis.
Linda McMahon: "A Good Idea Then and Now"
The McMahon Senate campaign uses a political glittering generality of a Kennedy speech to further their message of job creation.
Using a clip of former President John F. Kennedy supporting job creation, the key issue of the McMahon campaign, was designed to remind Americans of the legitimacy of the chief concern for the McMahon campaign.
Linda McMahon: "Different"
In quite possibly the most effective ad of the McMahon campaign, Linda McMahon dresses down to humbly inform voters of who she is and why she's running for senate. This could have made an excellent opening ad as Linda McMahon comes off as human as ever. Talking up her own struggles in bankruptcy, and her ability to come back from her darkest hour, was more effective than any 'job creation' buzzword could ever be.
It was around this time that McMahon had closed a comfortable gap with Blumenthal in the midst of a furious rally by the McMahon Senate campaign.
Linda McMahon: "Algo Diferente"
Yo soy Linda McMahon, and I approve of this message...
Targeting the Latino vote, Linda McMahon deployed a Spanish version of her 'Different' commercial with individuals representing the Latino vote speaking highly of the potential Senator.
Linda McMahon: "What Else?"
The McMahon campaign set its sights on a major 'mis-statement' by Richard Blumenthal who reportedly misinformed the public of his Vietnam record.
While these types of ads came in bunches, the timing of the ads was quite puzzling. News of Blumenthal's shady record in Vietnam broke as early as mid-May, and the McMahon Senate campaign began targeting Blumenthal's claims in October.
Linda McMahon: "Truth"
The McMahon Senate campaign continued to ride the truth card as they used Blumenthal's slippery history to combat statements he made about Linda McMahon herself.
The figure of an $850 million tax increase under Blumenthal's watch is an alarming number (again, that could or could not be 100% accurate) aimed at scaring potential voters away from a Senator who could make their life more expensive.
Linda McMahon: "Dick Blumenthal Can't Create Jobs"
This particular attack on Richard Blumenthal was effective in that it did not use blanket statements and in arbitrary narrator, but rather live footage of Blumenthal sweating it out while answering a question concerning the McMahon campaign's chief concern of job creation.
This is the type of file footage material that could swing undecided voters the way of Linda McMahon for senate.
Linda McMahon: "Matter Of Politics"
In "Matter of Politics", the McMahon Senate campaign sicks Dick Blumenthal's own 'brethren' against him as actual Vietnam vets speak out against Blumenthal's Vietnam record.
As poignant as this commercial is, one has to once again question its timing. Perhaps the McMahon Campaign, using an issue that helped Linda McMahon get back into this race, waited until the closing weeks of the election to remind voters of Blumenthals' big lie thus keeping this important caveat fresh in their minds as they take to the polls.
Linda McMahon: "Biggest Lie"
Linda McMahon approves of yet another message that finds another way to call Richard Blumenthal a liar. Intertwining his questionable business practices with his tendency to lie (as they put it), the McMahon campaign continues to emphasize the fact that Blumenthal cannot be trusted as a politician during these times.
Linda McMahon: "Taking Care"
Linking Richard Blumenthal (and even incumbent Chris Dodd) to the ongoing problems in our economy, "Taking Care" depicts Blumenthal as a corrupt politician who is part of the problem rather than the solution in the current economic downturn.
This commercial was different from previous attacks on Blumenthal as it integrated career politician Chris Dodd by comparing Blumenthal and Dodd's scandalous business practices as it pertained to Countrywide Mortgage.
Linda McMahon: "Rally"
The aptly titled "Rally" attempts to further humanize Linda McMahon as she discusses her talk with an individual who we can all appreciate - a mother.
As part of a last ditch effort to prove to voters her concern for the everyday American, McMahon uses candid footage from a campaign Rally to persuade them of her sincerity and good intentions in light of reported scandals implicating her opponent.
Linda McMahon: "Running to Be Your Voice"
Returning to a familiar platform, Linda McMahon goes back to the same basic strategy used in "Different" and "Lunch Box" as she appears in a natural setting and simulates conversation while discussing her honest, conservative intentions of fixing basic problems that have plagued the economy.
Should McMahon go on to lose this election, this could easily fall into the 'too little, too late' category as an obviously effective strategy of humanizing Linda McMahon seemed to have been somewhat aborted down the stretch in favor of attacking Richard Blumenthal.
Linda McMahon: "When I Was Young"
Daughter of Linda McMahon and WWE TV character/employee Stephanie McMahon delivers a simple narrative of her mother's positive record as CEO of WWE. Shrewdly commenting that her mother was instrumental in "making the WWE more family friendly", Stephanie McMahon fills the voids created by "Judy" with her notoriety as a WWE performer.
The McMahon Senate campaign has done an effective job of using the commercial airwaves to spark interest in a politician who was virtually unknown in this field prior to deciding to run for Senator. Relying heavily on attacks of career politicians, including McMahon's opponent himself, while presenting Linda McMahon as a person who could sympathize with a large and diverse voting public, McMahon and Co. greatly helped their cause of at least making this race interesting.
Poll results may suggest the opposite, as this campaign may have gone overboard on its attacks on Blumenthal and ads in general, however one can hardly doubt that they have put together an impressive series of advertisement designed to introduce a new politic to the Old Boys Network.