Great ideas, brilliantly executed is the key to Democrats winning elections


One Democratic candidate, John Fetterman in Pennsylvania, understands that

The other day I posted a story called, “Making Joe Manchin irrelevant”

Making Joe Manchin irrelevant

While the focus of that story was about money in politics and, importantly how to donate strategically, I finished with this admonition:

One last thing. After spending all this time talking about money, I need to tell you a little story that when it comes to paid communication, it’s not always about just money.

It was a story, based on my own experience in advertising overseeing the California Dancing Raisins campaign, and how the power of a great idea, innovatively executed, can have a substantial multiplier effect on ad spend.

I concluded with these questions:

Are you listening, political consultants and ad gurus developing campaigns for your candidates? Are you spending the contributions from your supporters with the best messages you can? Are you willing to learn about the power of great advertising from those shriveled grapes from California? Are you willing to understand that it’s not just about money, it’s also about great ideas? And that the future of our democracy depends on those great ideas?

Today I wanted to show you an example of a campaign that takes those admonitions, answers those questions, and runs with them.

John Fetterman is the Democratic candidate for the open Senate seat in Pennsylvania. Currently Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, Fetterman has a real chance to flip the seat blue. He’s running against, as I characterized in that earlier post, “(apparent) New Jersey resident and world-class charlatan and TV snake-oil salesman Dr. [Mehmet] Oz.

Fetterman and his advisors have just released an ad that does exactly what I suggested – a great idea, not just innovatively executed, but brilliantly executed. It’s called “The Wizard of Lies.” Take a look…and while you’re looking, please note who devised the ad, an outfit called “Meidas Touch,” who’s spokesman seems to be a good ol’ boy named “Texas Paul.” Maybe there’s hope for Texas after all.

Democratic strategists, consultants, communication specialists, ad gurus and, most importantly, candidates, take heed; do what John Fetterman did:

Don’t just spend our money, spend our money behind brilliant, winning messages! The future of our democracy depends on it.

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy. Besides writing Around the Block, Ted is also a guest columnist for the Palm Beach Post.

5 thoughts on “Great ideas, brilliantly executed is the key to Democrats winning elections

  1. In America, anything goes. As a Canadian, I understand that. But, in Canada, the above ad would be ignored, or, used against the politician who runs it. We don’t believe in negative messages about other candidates. What we demand is positive advertising, having the candidates tell us their positions on the economy, on abortion, on religion in government. We want to know what the candidate is hoping to accomplish.
    No, we don’t always get what we want, and we get lied to a lot, but we don’t put up with slanderous messaging, even when it’s true, and well-deserved. If all a polutician can do is scream about how bad the other guys are, we don’t want them in govetnment.


    1. I am as disheartened by negative, attack advertising as you are. Having said that, one side cannot sit back and play nice when the other side is cutthroat and without scruples. Yes, Fetterman’s ad is negative; but it is executed in a creative, memorable, witty way. And, after all, when you’re opponent is Dr. Oz, what can you say?


      1. I wasn’t dissing the ad, I was dissing the fact such ads are needed. I understand the Dems have to fight fire with fire, but in the eyes of the world it looks like spoiled brats fighting over whose dad can beat the other kid’s dad. Politics is supposed to be conducted by adults working together to bring out the best in a nation of diverse peoples.
        I hope you won’t mind my saying this, but American politics is about as useful as throwing water at a chemical fire. And it totally demonstrates the idea you are voting against candidates, rather than voting for them.
        (But as I have been saying a lot recently, this is an election where voting against republicans is not only acceptable, but necessary!)


      2. Not only don’t I mind you saying it, I agree 100%. As I wrote, and as you commented to, in my post, “Around the Block Looks Back,” which referenced a story I posted in April 2016, “Our electoral system is completely broken.
        ATB asks: Is this the United States of America or the Banana States of America?”, there is no system. And, unfortunately, as long as the broken system suits them, there is no incentive for the GOP to fix it. (And, by the way, if it was the Dems who benefited from the broken system, they’d probably do the same.)

        I read your “Demonmocracy” piece and am working on a reply…but, bottom line, you’re correct, “Republicans have shut down democracy in favour of POWER.


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