Campaign Ads: How Jon Huntsman's Surreal Video Stacks Up

Jon Huntsman's unconventional, dirt biking announcement casts all others in a new light

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Candidacy announcements rarely take risks. So when we heard that cool, down-to-earth, denim-jacketed Jon Huntsman had circulated his debut video clip this morning we prepared to be bored. Not so: Instead of narrating the clip in a suit and tie while uttering patriotic bromides set to a saccharine melody, the candidate appeared on a dirt bike riding in the desert. And he doesn't even say a single word. In fact, the only words on screen make little-to-no sense.

The clip made us rethink most things we thought we knew about political advertising. As a courtesy, beginning with the Huntsman video--which we think is certainly the most surreal ad of the campaign season so far--here are the other approaches that contenders have taken.

The Surrealist Approach (Jon Huntsman)

Notes: Aside from the nearly incomprehensible reference to Huntsman being a prog-rock aficionado, Politico spots a more practical side note to the clip: it was paid for out-of-pocket from the candidate himself.

The Low-Key, Aw-Shucks Everyman Approach (Mitt Romney)

Notes: There's a reason why Romney took this approach. He's been attacked by folksier candidates as the buttoned-down, corporate candidate, remember?

The Michael Bay Notice Me! Approach (Tim Pawlenty)

Notes: Other than addressing the "boring" tag that keeps being bandied about Pawlenty, we think the candidate just secretly likes making action movie ads.

The Bigger Than the Presidency Approach (Sarah Palin)

Notes: Not an official presidential announcement, only coincidentally timed to build buzz for a very important alternative: a nationwide road trip.

The Grassroots Enthusiasm Approach (Herman Cain)

Notes: the disco background groove you hear in the video is the Tea Party-hit "I Am America" by Krista Branch (skip to the end of the clip for the catchy chorus or just watch the full music video here instead).

The Stilted, 'Eerie Ghost' Approach (Newt Gingrich)

Notes: All that talk of the "Soviet Union" in this drab video reminds viewers just how bland Newt's production values are. This is the anti-Pawlenty announcement.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.