Vinny Minchillo, one of the "Mad Men" hired to make commercials for Romney campaign, has come out defending his ads because, well, they need defending. In light of all the criticism the Romney commercials have gotten, even from those within his own party—Peggy Noonan called them "boring," over at The Wall Street Journal — he has decided to point out some achievements his team made. Minchillo, a former game-show turned executive at Glass House Strategy, seems pretty convinced that his ads only helped the Romney effort... even if he cites a rebranding misstep by the Obama campaign as something that his people did right. "I was amazed when the Obama campaign took a big, positive, thoughtful brand (Hope and Change) and tossed it overboard in favor of talking almost exclusively about fear and negativity," he wrote in Ad Age as reason number three for why his team ruled. Hmmm.
Beyond that, Minchello believes he "reinvented political advertising" by having an in-house ad team that could turn a gaffe into a spot in 90 minutes, with his creations reaching as far as China. "If you make the Chinese news agency angry, I figure you're doing something right," he wrote. Then again, if you get a General Motors spokesperson to say something like that — "We've clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days… No amount of campaign politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back to this country" — do you know you're doing something wrong? Also, that Chinese news agency had a decent zinger against the aspiring presidential candidate. "It is rather ironic that a considerable portion of this China-battering politician's wealth was actually obtained by doing business with Chinese companies before he entered politics," wrote China's official news agency. In addition to getting the attention of the official Chinese news agency, the American press called Minchello's China-focused ads "misleading."
A large portion of the money raise by the Romney campaign went to Minchillo and his fellow hired guns from the advertising industry, The Washington Post's Philip Zucker reported in August. But even with all the money in the world, these ad guys had one job, noted Zucker. "Romney can raise all the millions there are to raise, but if his ad wizards don’t make compelling and persuasive ads, it won’t do him much good," he wrote. In hindsight, it's hard to blame the failure of an entire campaign on its commercials, or the non-political professionals tapped to make them. But the ads didn't win the campaign for Romney. And, in the opinion of Noonan, they did have one notable achievement. "It’s kind of an achievement to be boring at a moment in history like this, so credit where it’s due: That musta taken effort!"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.