Hillary 1984: Where did our message go?

March 20, 2007 at 3:07 pm 2 comments

Is Web 2.0 finally democratizing democracy? The Hillary 1984 (or “Vote Different”) video – now viewed over a million times on YouTube – clearly shows that the political campaigns are no longer in control of the message. In one fell swoop, it has de-positioned Hillary as the old guard and made Barack Obama the coolest kid on the block – and no one knows who is responsible. Perhaps we will never know. According to Simon Rosenberg, president of the Washington-based New Democrat Network, quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle: “It will no longer be a top-down candidate message; that’s a 20th century broadcast model.”

UPDATE The Huffington Post revealed the video’s creator today: a guy called Phil de Vellis who put it together at home on his Mac. Here’s what he has to say.

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Entry filed under: PR, Web 2.0.

Cuban called it, and other stories – March 14, 2007 Step away from the keyboard

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ben  |  March 20, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    I find this ad deeply suspicious.

    The soundbites seem to be completely wrong for the ad. I realize there is a certain irony in the original, which juxtaposes “we shall prevail” with the throwing of the hammer. But in the original, the voice has an obviously evil quality to it. These soundbites are Hillary’s explicit attempt to come across as a regular person, having a “conversation” with each of us individually, whereas the original ad speaks of “one people, one will, one resolve, one cause,” and “a garden of pure ideology where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests of any contradictory thoughts.” Meanwhile, the Hillary soundbite says “I don’t want people who agree with me.” Also, the image of big brother is dark, and blends in with the dark wall in the original commercial, while the imagine of Clinton is bright white, an aberration in the monolithic room

    If I had to guess at the source of this video, I would bet it came from the Clinton campaign. Imagine seeing it without any knowledge of the original. Most people probably don’t remember the original all that well. Here is an alternative interpretation of the Clinton video: Clinton is trying to awaken people who have become used to politics as a competitive sport, or partisan war, rather than a discussion, an exchange of ideas, about how to make everyone better off. Hillary says that it’s “really good” that “so far, we haven’t stopped talking.” However, some evil forces don’t want you to keep talking. Right before the hammer is thrown, the text on the screen over Hillary reads, “this is our conversation.” The next time we see the screen, a smiling Hillary again says she “hopes to keep this conversation going,” just before the sledge hammer smashes into the screen. In the original ad, following the initial explosion as the sledgehammer crashes into the screen, we hear a light, cool breeze, suggesting freedom. This sound appears to have been slowed down in the Clinton video, lowering the pitch and suggesting the cold wind of emptiness and despair. By this point we are really wondering who would be so evil as to want to end “our conversation.” We then see a bright white screen which says, “On January 14th, the Democratic primary will begin. And you’ll see why 2008 won’t be like ‘1984.’” Note that 1984 has a significance in presidential politics quite apart from Orwell’s book. 1984 was the year Walter Mondale, running as an unabashed liberal, lost every state in the nation except Minnesota. The white screen, associated with Clinton, promises a different outcome in 2008, until it is covered over by a pitch black screen bearing Barack Obama’s web address. It must be he who wishes to end the conversation.

    Reply
  • 2. demigod031  |  March 21, 2007 at 8:30 am

    This Hillary 1984 video is getting way overhyped. There are important issues out there more important than
    clever little internet ad campaigns with no real message, especially one that isn’t even original.

    Reply

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