Rival radio ads

While listening to Tejanoman Chris Tristan yesterday evening on Univision station Recuerdos 107.7-fm, I heard Clinton and Obama campaign ads almost back to back. I can’t even decide which one I thought was more effective and wonder what the experts think.

I don’t know who the narrator is for the Obama ad, but he speaks at an urgent pace. This ad contains English-language sound-snippets from Obama’s speeches. It is marred by annoying swelling Coplandesque background music. In its favor, on the other hand, is that Obama speaks in Spanish at the end to give the little blurb affirming that he approved the ad. The theme throughout, repeated more than once, is “Obama me esta hablando a mi,” and at the very end this phrase is capped with “y te habla a ti tambien,” immediately following which Obama gives his short statement in Spanish. The theme is education and health care and building a better future. I’m not sure how to convey the tone of the Spanish phrases quoted above (without the proper markings on the vowels), but it’s very emphatic, underlining that “Obama is speaking to me” and then “to you as well.”

In the Clinton ad heard, Henry Cisneros speaks in a conversational tone. Clinton makes the ending announcement in English. I can’t yet find a link for this on line but the main pitch is to vote early, because the Texas primary could be decisive in the battle for the White House. Cisneros introduces himself, says that it’s important to vote before Election Day, and announces a number to call in order to learn the location of a nearby early-voting location and arrange, if necessary, for a free ride to the polling place. The fact that I can’t remember everything in the ad speaks against it; on the other hand, the voice of Cisneros is very familiar and soothing. I used to see him often in the Capitol grounds and he was always at ease when he was about to speak with reporters, with no fumbling for notes or anything like that, just talking extemporaneously and comfortably. Here’s an English-language video version that I think is somewhat close to what I heard on the radio, but the radio ad is specific to our state. I know that the radio ad speaks of “nuestra amiga” and says that Clinton is working so that everyone in Texas may have a better life. Cisneros says that Clinton has a special affection for Texas. There are faint strains of an unaccompanied conjunto-style accordion to be heard in the background. I heard the Cisneros ad for Clinton in Spanish again this morning, but it just doesn’t seem to be as good at catching the ear immediately from the very first words in the way that the Obama ad does. But I may be alone in that opinion. I’ve seen no television ads for any presidential candidate, in English or in Spanish.

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