USATODAY.com – 'Tagline' could alter tone of ads

USATODAY.com – ‘Tagline’ could alter tone of ads
‘”I’m George W. Bush (or John Kerry), and I approved this message” is about to be the phrase millions of people hear night after night on TV.

That “tagline” %u2014 now required by law in candidates’ TV and radio ads %u2014 may become background noise to most listeners, just as “shut down” goes mostly unnoticed. But admakers and political scientists say it will have subtle effects on candidates’ broadcast ads.’

When I heard my first John Kerry ad last night, I thought I was dreaming when I heard “I’m John Kerry and I approved this message.” I thought, what a lunatic, he’s stealing Bush’s line. Personally, if I were Kerry, I would have said something different. Maybe, “This is John Kerry and this message met my approval.” Anything. Bush has spent 3 times the money so far and everyone that I know of thinks of that as Bush’s line, which makes Kerry look like a plagiarist to anyone not willing to look up the facts. Which is fine.

On the plus side for Bush, this is the first Kerry ad I’ve heard. I’ve been hearing Bush ads for months and even heard an ad last night specifically targeted at Missouri. (Talked about Kerry voting against fighters made in St. Louis and the B-2 bombers based out of Whiteman AFB.) Missouri only has 11 electoral votes, but has voted with the winning Presidential candidate in every election but one in the last 100 years. Those 11 votes are likely to go for Bush, but it’s not a lock. by any means.

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