Presidential platitudes

As the 2016 presidential election has progressed, we’ve watched dozens of candidates release their campaign ads, many of which followed a predictable formula:

• A carefully scripted speech over a montage of stock footage, with plenty of sun-dappled scenes of the heartland.

• The candidate interacting with smiling citizens.

• Allusions to that other terrible party and/or the current awful president, in black and white or sepia tone. (Things have been terrible for so long!)

• Images of our proud history and illustrious ancestors … also in black and white or sepia tone. (Things were so much better then!)

• A rainbow of citizen ethnicities and middle-class workplaces.

• Standing ovations and smiling voters.

• Lens flares … so many lens flares.

These formulaic approaches even drew comparisons to our own all-purpose corporate promo, This Is a Generic Brand Video. From Slate’s Seth Stevenson: “The danger of using stock that feels stale? You end up with something like this parody of generic stock gone wrong.”

We didn’t think it fair that political commentators had to reference our generic corporate video. Why not give them an actual generic political video?

So we contacted Kendra Eash, writer of This Is a Generic Brand Video, for her wry, absurdist take on presidential promos. The result is This Is a Generic Presidential Campaign Ad, a blatantly pandering, verbally vacuous piece of political parody.

While we don’t recommend being quite so vague and generic as either of these ads, we at Dissolve can find and clear clips that will make your candidate look great — no matter what your political affiliation.

Just contact our researchers with your script or shot list. They’ll find fresh-looking, relatable clips, with model and property releases. They’ll make sure your clips of the USA aren’t actually clips of Canada. They’ll double check that the veterans you show are American, not Russian. And they’ll make sure the borders your candidate alludes to protecting are actually the ones that border the United States.

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