I was sitting down last Tuesday with a bowl of popcorn, geared up to watch Beyonce and Jay Z’s grammy performance for the umpteenth time, when one of those annoying YouTube ads popped up. It was a five seconder. Not bad, I thought. Except then a sad-looking man filled the screen while acoustic guitar played in the background.
“Hi. I’m Clay Pell. I am announcing my candidacy for the Democratic nomination for governor of Rhode Island…”
I quickly clicked SKIP AD. But as I continued to surf YouTube, I found I couldn’t escape it. Nobody in the state of Rhode Island can. It appeared before every music video and movie trailer I attempted to watch. I started to have nightmares about it.
“Hola. Soy Clay Pell. Hoy, anuncio mi candidatura para la nominación…” AHHH. IT’S EVEN IN SPANISH.
I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what bothered me about the ad, and then I realized: Pell had the same expression and voice typically reserved for anti-depressant and laxative ads. Between the James Blunt-esque music and Pell’s puppy dog eyes, he could just as easily have said: “Hi. I’m Clay Pell. I’m here today to talk about your inflamed colon. I want to let you know — I’m here to help.”
Like many Brown students, I don’t vote in Rhode Island, and have no plans to establish permanent residency here. I decided to watch Clay Pell’s governor announcement all the way through, however. Here’s what I learned, second by second:
0:07 – Acoustic guitar makes me feel sleepy and sad.
0:18 – Old people are frustrated and worried about our future. Their presence just makes this look more like a viagra ad.
0:23 – It is inexplicably both winter and spring in Providence in this ad.
0:36 – HOLY SHIT. IS THAT OBAMA, CLAY PELL, AND MICHELLE KWAN?
0:40 – I just wikipedia-ed it… Kwan and Pell are married. Huge
0:45 – Pell just became a 100 times cooler.
0:50 – I wonder if Kwan would give free ice skating lessons to Rhode Islanders if Pell was elected?!?
0:56 – “Truth is, there are no easy ways to restore our economy…”
1:00 – Does this mean I’m not going to be able to get a job after graduation?
1:05 – Pell says he’s not going to accept contributions from PACs, but he looks pretty pained by the thought of giving up that money.
1:32 – Pell just brought up his grandfather, Senator Claiborne Pell.
1:38 – “My grandfather was a soft spoken man, but he understood that you don’t have to be loud to be strong.”
1:40 – Holy crap, this is like a Lifetime movie.
1:42 – I think I’m tearing up.
1:58 – “Hope is the motto of our state.” SO WHY DO YOU LOOK SO SAD?
2:17 – Michelle Kwan showed up for the end of the ad. Skip to here.
It’s not just Pell though. Wait and watch: these ads are going to be everywhere in a couple of weeks. There are six candidates for Providence mayor and three Democrats competing in the gubernatorial primary. Politicians will be pandering with ads that sound as hopeful as commercials for hemorrhoid cream.