advertising fail

If This Awful Ad Is The Best Rhode Island Marriage Coalition Can Come Up With, We’re Doomed

Jesus. Has the Rhode Island Marriage Coalition learned nothing from California’s Prop 8? From Maine’s Question 1? From Washington State’s Referendum 71? Ads like the one above — which began airing in the Rhode Island today — are ineffective. Don’t get me wrong: The spot is very touching. Me, personally? I love hearing about happy couples in love, and how they met, and how they survived a crisis together. But they don’t motivate anyone to get off the couch. So while Rhode Island’s marriage bill isn’t up to voters, it is up to voters to call their lawmakers and tell them how they should vote. Ads like this, the warm fuzzy “It’s Just Time” kind, just don’t do it. (WHAT IN GOD’S NAME IS THAT MUSIC PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND?) If you want voters to call up their elected officials and demand our rights, then we’ve seen time and again you need to give them a reason to do so. And this is done by playing into our worst fears, not playing cozy like we’re a bunch of helpless sacks.

It’s the sad truth of political advertising: the threat of something harmful elicits a stronger response than telling everyone how bright the sun could shine one day. Don’t tell television viewers about how wonderful your families are — tell them how YOUR FAMILIES ARE BEING DESTROYED because of marriage discrimination. About how you can’t afford health insurance because your partner isn’t eligible for your plan. About how if you were to die, your partner would have no legal right to care for your children. These aren’t make believe scenarios you’d be misrepresenting to voters. THIS IS REAL LIFE. These are the actual horror stories our community faces because we cannot marry. Our opponents are playing by this rule book. And they’re laughing at the fact that The Gays are not. So grow a pair, Rhode Island Marriage Coalition. Put up a fight like you actually think you could win. Until then, you’re wasting your donors’ money. Stop making ads that make you feel good.