Snyder Airs Super Bowl Ad

It worked for him in 2010. Now Governor Rick Snyder is hoping an ad airing during the Super Bowl can help him win the state capitol again in 2014.

Snyder's ad, titled "Michigan's Comeback Kid" hit television screens across Michigan Sunday, touting his accomplishments of the last four years and portraying him as the leader of an economic revival in the great lakes state.

"Over the last four years, we've seen a lot of growth and a lot of progress," said Gideon D'Assandro, press secretary for Snyder's re-election campaign. "He's asking people to trust him again and stand behind his plan as he continues Michigan's comeback."

The ad -- which cost upwards of $500,000 -- starts with Snyder in snorkel gear, emerging from water as the narrator proclaims: "Some people call him a nerd, but Michigan is now calling him the Comeback Kid."

D'Assandro says the footage is from a swimming pool and is designed to remind people of when Snyder toured a shipwreck last year.

"It's a memorable moment; it's something that's Pure Michigan," said D'Assandro.

The ad also credits Snyder with restoring 220,000 private sector jobs, aiding veterans and increasing funding to schools.

Democrats, perhaps obviously, don't see it that way.

"I really don't think this governor has a record to run on and I think that's the reason he's running a commercial that really doesn't talk about anything he's done but really tries to re-brand the Governor with another catchy slogan," said Curtis Hertel Jr., a democrat who's running for Sen. Gretchen Whitmer's soon-to-be vacated seat. "And I just don't think it's going to work this time."

The ad, Hertel said, is meant to distract voters from Snyder's record by using catchy nicknames.

"When you've never been in office before like the governor was the first time, you can go ahead and use slogans to make yourself better," he said. "Now we're four years later, now the governor has a record. And his record is clear."

The content isn't as significant as the ad itself for public relations professional T.J. Bucholz. Simply shelling out the money to air an ad during the Super Bowl makes a statement.

"For democratic challengers to Gov. Snyder, what this ad demonstrates is that they have resources to burn, they have enough money early on to spend half-a-million dollars, a million dollars on a 30-second throwaway Super Bowl ad," said Bucholz. "They're trying to generate as much buzz from the ad as they are from the ad time itself."

At the end of 2013, democratic challenger Mark Schauer's campaign had only raised about a quarter of Snyder's more than $4 million.

Bucholz, who identifies himself as a democrat, has worked before in the Engler and Granholm administrations. He says the ad is puzzling to him at times, particularly at the beginning, when Snyder emerges in snorkel gear.

"You want that to grab you right away and I'm not sure the governor coming out of the water would grab me as much as the governor being gubernatorial," he said.

Instead, Bucholz said, people will likely be confused rather than intrigued by the opening few seconds.

There are positives though, he said. A "continual barrage" of fast-moving images showing people at work and construction cranes are engaging and highlight the positive things that have happened in four years.

"It's almost a transition ad where he starts as the nerd and ends as the comeback kid," Bucholz said. "So what that tells me is that for this election, it's less about nerd -- what he's built his reputation on -- and more about Michigan's comeback and trying to associate himself with Michigan's comeback."


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