Speed Reads

2014 Watch

Tom Cotton's great new ad: 3 reasons it works


Some TV ads just work. This one, by Arkansas Senate candidate (and U.S. Rep.) Tom Cotton, would be good even if it weren't for the strategic reasons I'm about to describe below.

First, though, give it a watch:

So what does this accomplish?

1. It obviously reinforces the key part of Cotton's bio — his military service.

2. It serves to remind everyone of Sen. Mark Pryor's most costly gaffe (his comments about Cotton's military service giving him "a sense of entitlement.")

3. Both these things are accomplished in a humorous manner. And as I've noted before, the knock on Cotton has always been that he's too stiff and serious — that you'd rather have a beer with Pryor. This humorous ad (coupled with the music) shows Cotton's personality, and undermines the notion that he's aloof.

Lastly, an interesting point: You'll notice Cotton's drill sergeant isn't wearing the official drill sergeant hat (similar to the Smokey Bear hat). That might have made for an interesting visual, but I'm told this was done to avoid potentially running afoul of any official U.S. Army regulations.

Even without the hat, this ad is a home run.