Seriously, Is Tom Steyer Crazy?

[Aditor's note: As you might - or more likely might not - have noticed, Dr. Ads has been (in)conspicuous by his absence over the past several months. We'd rather not get into the details; let's just say he's been under the care of an actual doctor. Yo.]

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, just minding my own business and reading Politico Playbook, when I came across this:

VIDEO DU JOUR – “Tom Steyer’s ads test the boundaries of the ‘bizarre,’” by Darren Goode: “Steyer is trying to sway national climate policy and the midterm elections with an ad campaign that is raising eyebrows among independent fact-checkers, some television stations, his political opponents and even a few allies — using an approach that strikes observers as anywhere from groundbreaking to downright bizarre. … [Chris] Lehane, who wrote much of the ads’ scripts, said they are born from creative sessions after Steyer’s team has identified its target audience and message.”

Have you seen these ads, Doc? I mean, I’m all for combatting climate change, but Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, eh?

- Al G.

Dear Al G.,

We’re talking about some nutty stuff, even for the Doc. Start out with this TV spot from Steyer’s NextGen Climate advocacy outfit attacking Iowa GOP Senate candidate Joni (The Castrator) Ernst.

 

 

Really? Is the average TV viewer gonna pay enough attention to that mishmash to get what it’s trying to say? We’re thinking not.

That ad is almost as strange as this spot NextGen ran last year attacking the Keystone XL Pipeline.

 

 

So how effective has Steyer’s climate police campaign been? The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel answered this way in her column last week.

A Climate Crusader’s Comeuppance

Billionaire Tom Steyer’s vow to make politicians toe the green line isn’t working out so well.

As political comedowns go, there may be few to compare to the humbling of Tom Steyer. Six months after the climate activist roared on the national political scene vowing $100 million to impose his agenda on this fall’s midterms, it would appear that this billionaire don’t hunt.

Remember the liberal huzzahs that greeted the February pledge? The New York Times gave Mr. Steyer the front page, heralding a coming “hard-edge campaign of ED-AS551A_edp08_D_20140814190209attack ads” that would pressure officials to “enact climate change measures” and persuade voters to back a climate agenda. Democrats hailed him as their new power broker, crowing about a war chest that could rival the Koch brothers and even up the midterm election odds. Environmentalists welcomed a white knight who would finally align the party and public behind their priorities.

Or not. Mr. Steyer at an Aspen conference this week revealed that little if any of this is happening. The left is as split over energy as it has ever been; the public isn’t buying the climate line; and the hedge-fund-manager-turned-activist looks to be regrouping.

Strassel adds this about the current NextGen ad:

NextGen, which bragged in May that it would make climate a “wedge” issue in “political races,” couldn’t even bring itself to mention the environment in its first ad of the political season, against Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst. It instead hit her for supporting lower taxes.

Yeah, hit her like a Nerf ball. Our Rx for Tom Steyer: Find the NextGen of admakers.

Yo.

Does Starbucks Really Fit Oprah to a Tea?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

So there I was, minding my own business and reading the New York Times when I came across this full-page ad.

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 1.30.02 AM

 

A boldly spiced chai with a touch of sweetness?

Chai kidding me?

- Dr. Fill

Dear Dr. Fill,

Do we detect the green (tea)-eyed monster at play here?

Regardless, the Doc definitely detects the Oprah-industrial complex at work.

As usual, the whole Oprahprise is cloaked in altruism:

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 10.45.15 AM

 

Click on the OprahChai website and you wind up in OprahLand (Steep Your Soul precinct).

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 10.47.13 AM

 

(Doesn’t seem like very many shares, does it?)

Of course, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation has had its difficulties. But apparently Starbucks is willing to assume that baggage.

Carry on, Howard Schultz.

Yo.

 

Ethics in Advertising? Really? What Are We, Oxymorons?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,Unknown

So there I was, hanging out in the Great American Heartland, when I heard a rumor. It seems that The University of Missouri (my old stomping ground) has a group studying ETHICS in advertising.

What’s with that? Are they wasting time and money?

- Indiana hick

Dear Indiana,

As you have no reason to remember, the old Doc recently addressed the issue of truth in advertising.

So now we’re graduating to the bigger issue of advertising ethics?

Unbelievable. Literally.

Unknown-1But you’re right – the University of Missouri’s Donald W.Reynolds Journalism Institute has a whole Ethics section that addresses subjects like advertising and marketing.

So to your question: Are they wasting time and money?

Yes and no.

Their time. Not our money.

We’re pretty sure.

Yo.

 

Truth in Advertising? Really? What Are We, Oxymorons?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

So there I was, minding my own business and reading the Sunday New York Times, when I came across this full-page ad from an outfit called – honest! – Truth in Advertising.

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 1.10.49 AM

 

 

Seriously? Truth in advertising? This has to be, like, Jimmy Fallon, right?

- David L

Dear DL,

First off, here’s the ad’s body copy for the body-copy impaired.

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 1.11.36 AM

 

Second off, here’s the Truth in Advertising website.

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 1.28.44 AM

 

And third off, here’s the Truth in Advertising Mission Statement.

 

Truth in Advertising, Inc. (TINA.org) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Madison, CT, whose mission is to be the go-to online resource dedicated to empowering consumers to protect themselves and one another against false advertising and deceptive marketing. We aim to achieve our mission through investigative journalism, education, advocacy, and the promotion of truth in advertising.

 

Thus the name, the old Doc is guessing. Anyway, the group says it’s independently funded, accepts no advertising money, and got its grubstake from “Seedlings Foundation” (actually, Seedling Foundation, established by billionaire Karen Pritzker and her billionaire-by-attraction husband Michael Vlock), which “supports programs that nourish the physical and mental health of children and families, and fosters an educated and engaged citizenship.”

Got that? Now on to the good stuff, which, of course, always involves video.

 

 

Well, maybe not exactly good. But not exactly bad either.

The TINA campaign features that web video, along with print and digital ads in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and etc.

According to Advertising Age, “[t]he group claims that in its first full year it sparked four legal actions, more than 200 ad alerts, more than 200 news articles and blog posts, reports on 232 false-advertising class actions and three petitions.”

Presumably, they’re telling the truth.

Yo.

 

What’s Up with That French-Bashing Cadillac Spot?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

So there I was, watching television and minding my own business, when this Cadillac commercial popped up.

 

 

Narrator: “Why do we work so hard? . . . Other countries, they work, they stroll home, they stop by the café, they take August off. Off. Why aren’t you like that? Why aren’t we like that? Because we’re crazy driven hard-working believers, that’s why.”

Really? More French-bashing, Doc?

Pass the Freedom Fries, oui?

- Hollande Daze

Dear Hollande Daze,

The Doc feels your pain. (We love those baguette thingies, which are the greatest empty calories ever created.) But you should know that not every American is ugly.

From Ad Age:

The spot for the new Cadillac ELR has provoked extreme reactions since its debut during NBC’s broadcast of the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 1.26.06 AM

Fans on the political right see “Poolside” as an unapologetic ode to American values. Critics on the political left see it as Ugly American chest thumping at its worst. During a time when Americans are working harder and longer for less money, others question the spot’s perceived workaholic message.

Others such as Washington Post contributor Brigid Schulte, who “‘groaned’ at the sight of a ‘middle-aged white guy’ extolling the ‘virtues of hard work, American style,’ while strolling around his fancy house, pool and $75,000 electric car.”

Not to mention the reaction of the average French person, as detailed in this eye-opening Gerry Haden piece on PRI’s The World.

Cadillac’s viral ad glorifies America’s crazy work ethic — but my French in-laws don’t buy it

By now, you may have seen the TV ad for Cadillac that’s gone viral. It’s the one where an American guy starts out questioning how hard he works, then indirectly thumbs his nose at Europeans and their short work weeks and long summer vacations.

His conclusion: that America is just the best, and the best buy Caddies.

But my French in-laws don’t buy the bluster.

Neither does the old Doc.

Yo.

 

Here’s Why Fr. Roy Bourgeois Ran That Boston Globe Ad

DrAdsforProfileSo the Doc asked the other day, Who Is Fr. Roy Bourgeois and Why Did He Run an Ad in the Boston Globe?

The ad (in part):

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 12.36.25 AM

 

And etc. (including a call for people to contact Pope Francis to “request that our Catholic Church ordain women, accept LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people as equals, and recognize gay marriage”).

As for our question, we answered the who in our original post.

And we can now answer the why, having just talked to Fr. Bourgeois on the phone. (Tip o’ the pixel to his editor, Margaret Knapke, who made the phone call happen.)

Why the Boston Globe?

“I just wanted to poke the beehive,” Fr. Bourgeois told the Doc, “and I have some friends there who wanted to contribute to a good cause.”

He has friends here because he attended seminary in Hingham and has given talks in this area numerous times.

The response has been good, Fr. Bourgeois says, and he has no intention of recanting his support for women’s ordination, even though it could return him to the priesthood.

“Asking me to do that would violate my conscience,” he says.

Fr. Bourgeois has himself contacted Pope Francis, but has yet to receive a reply. Meanwhile, he says, it’s “just a matter of time” until women (and other disenfranchised groups) are justified by the Catholic Church.

God bless him.

Yo.

 

Who Is Fr. Roy Bourgeois and Why Did He Run an Ad in the Boston Globe?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

So I’m minding my own business reading the Boston Sunday Globe when I come across this ad on page A6. (Blurry visuals compliments of the Globe.)

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 1.51.07 AM

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 1.47.34 AM

 

Really? Some Catholic priest in Columbus, GA has enough dough to buy a quarter-page ad in the Sunday (week’s most expensive) Globe? What’s the deal here, Doc?

- Cathaholic

Dear Cathaholic,

Excellent question.

First, some background.

From November, 2012 via Tom Roberts of the National Catholic Reporter:

Roy Bourgeois: They finally got him

Ah, they finally got him, as we all knew they probably would. Eventually. And with a press release it was done: Fr. Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest for 45 years, was told that the Vatican “dispenses” him “from his sacred bonds.”

And the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, caught in the culture that finds advocating for women’s ordination such a grievous and unpardonable offense, “warmly thanks” Roy “for his service to mission and all members wish him well in his personal life.”

And so it goes, as Vonnegut would say. So it goes.

Bourgeois’ case is a prime illustration of what, today, the institution can and can’t tolerate. Bourgeois’ major offense, the sin that is unforgiveable in the eyes of the church, for which penalty is removal from the order which he has served for nearly half a century and dismissal from the community, was advocating for women’s ordination.

And from a year ago, here’s the padre himself in a New York Times op-ed:

My Prayer: Let Women Be Priests

AFTER serving as a Roman Catholic priest for 40 years, I was expelled from the priesthood last November because of my public support for the ordination of women.

Catholic priests say that the call to be a priest comes from God. As a young priest, I began to ask myself and my fellow priests: “Who are we, as men, to say that our call from God is authentic, but God’s call to women is not?” Isn’t our all-powerful God, who created the cosmos, capable of empowering a woman to be a priest?

Let’s face it. The problem is not with God, but with an all-male clerical culture that views women as lesser than men. Though I am not optimistic, I pray that the newly elected Pope Francis will rethink this antiquated and unholy doctrine.

He’s also decided to pay, in the form of the Globe ad.

Why here? Why now?

The old Doc will try to find out. We didn’t find a way to contact him at his website, but we’ll track him down eventually and get back to you.

Yo.