The 2012 presidential campaign is gearing up, and that means it’s game-time for top political consultants—including veteran GOP ad man Fred Davis. Davis, who just came out with a slew of strange spots for Republican presidential candidate and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, is known for his idiosyncratic m.o. Here is a sampling of his past work.
In the 2002 gubernatorial election in Georgia, Davis conceived of this spot depicting opponent Roy Barnes as a rat thumping through Atlanta. The custom-built costume had a state-of-the-art-air-conditioning system and cost $20,000 to rent.
To save his uncle, Oklahoma Representative James Inhofe, in his failing bid for U.S. Senate in 1994, Davis devised this TV spot featuring felons dressed in pink tutus—a critique of a Democratic crime bill that funded art classes for prisoners.
Some argue that this “I am not a witch ad” turned 2010 Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell from long-shot to joke. Davis insists that the ad bumped O'Donnell six points at the time, even though she eventually lost.
Carly Fiorina vs. Barbara Boxer
In the 2010 California Senate race, Davis created this attack ad for Carly Fiorina depicting her opponent, Senator Barbara Boxer, as a giant talking blimp floating over San Francisco.
Carly Fiorina vs. Tom Campbell
When Carly Fiorina was trailing Tom Campbell in the 2010 California GOP Senate primary, Davis produced a spot showing sheep grazing in a meadow. The so-called “Demon Sheep” ad quickly went viral.
In the days leading up to the announcement of his candidacy in mid-June, Huntsman released three web videos, all featuring the same lone rider, the same cheesy music, and a random fact about the former governor. This is the first one of the series.
The Huntsman ads inspired an avalanche of parodies by everyone from the Utah State Democratic Party to Rick Santorum’s campaign.
Conan O’Brien took a shot at the Huntsman ads, too.
Davis conceived of this ad for Arizona's Ben Quayle when he ran for Congress in 2010.
Click here to read Michelle Cottle on Carly Fiorina.
Click here to read Hillary Kelly on Christine O'Donnell.
Click here to read Walter Shapiro on Jon Huntsman.