WASHINGTON, DC — In swing states such as Ohio and Virginia, where television viewers have been inundated with campaign ads for weeks, Election Day heralds the last day of nonstop messaging.
But some ads never made it to even the most politically saturated living rooms.
Arun Chaudhary, President Barack Obama’s former White House videographer, heads up the video team at Revolution Messaging, a Washington-based Democratic marketing firm. There, Chaudhary operates differently than most creators of political ads: He films and edits many projects first and then tries to find a buyer for the finished product.
“With most firms, you have to pay them to get the creative concepts,” Chaudhary said. “Usually there’s not a cutting-room floor.”
With the election season coming to a close, Chaudhary shared five of his top unreleased ads with BuzzFeed, and explained why they didn’t make the cut.
2. Bain Was Here (The Vulture)
“Everyone just said it was too wonky,” said Chaudhary, who modeled the ad after the classic pro-Ronald Reagan ad “The Bear.”
“I knew I could get it on TV” via press coverage, Chaudhary said, but he worried that it would only reach an audience of DC insiders.
3. The GOP Must Be High
Chaudhary originally developed this ad to run in Colorado, but “with marijuana on the ballot there, all of a sudden it becomes this confusing issue,” he said.
He worried that pro-marijuana supporters would associate Romney with legalization and vote for both.
“It was a funny idea, but there was no way to make it work.”
4. The Model Uterus
Chaudhary had been making and releasing ads semi-regularly for the group Lady Parts Justice; this would have been another. “Then Sandy hit, and it just took all of the air out of the news cycle,” he said. “We’d been trying to cut through the clutter with provocative and interesting things, but it became hard to cut through the clutter and inappropriate to cut through the clutter.”
5. Raise My Taxes And The Horse Gets It
“Someone had just mentioned that old National Lampoon cover, and I thought, That was interesting,” Chaudhary said. So he incorporated Ralfalca into an ad in that vein — but, the result “kind of doesn’t work.”
He anticipated that Mitt Romney’s tax returns would remain a prominent, controversial issue in the campaign, but because the initial fervor died down, the effectiveness of the ad’s message was diminished.
6. Mitt Roll’d
Although this video was never meant to be a traditional political ad, Chaudhary envisioned it as an anonymous, viral video. “One thing that everyone does when you have a good idea and think it’s too naughty is release it anonymously.”
Meanwhile, the allusion to Rick Astley and the “Rick Roll” would be easy for viewers to understand.
“You often you try to tap into something that’s already in the pop culture zeitgeist.”