I'm disturbed by the new MoveOn ad, and not just because Rider Strong, of "Boy Meets World" fame, has reappeared on my TV screen with his still too-floppy hair suavely slicked back.
The ad, which parodies the famous egg commercials launched by Partnership for a Drug Free America (PDFA) and more recent ads for communicable disease meds, displays MoveOn's usual MO of humor and a little shock. It mocks the GOP's fear-mongering and attempts to present Obama as the anti-drug to Washington's entrenched ways, the Bush administration, or political apathy (or all three). But, the ad misses the mark. For starters, triggering people to think simultaneously about drugs, disease, and Obama's message is off-putting. More importantly, though, by casting Obama's brand of hope as an addictive substance or disease, the ad implies that voters lack control--that hope is caught, not chosen. (I get that the chirping chick represents enlightenment, but it appears too late in the game and is barely visible.) This is a troubling way to support Obama, especially in light of the GOP's complaints that he is seducing people with eloquent words. The ad fails to reinforce that supporting Obama is an empowering choice--and that's disappointing.
Just as The New Yorker bungled satire with its Obama cover, MoveOn botched this parody. I doubt it will create an iota of the firestorm the cover did, but I also doubt the ad will do much more than mobilize people to chuckle ... uncomfortably.