Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Ah, so that's how we figure out what women think!

Judith Grey at The Daily Beast is quite irritated with conservatives who have been laughing at Obama's Life of Julia web ad. People have been ridiculing it as the perfect expression of Obama's cradle-to-grave paternalism, but the headline to Grey's story announces that Obama will have the last laugh.
Republicans Laugh, But Women Relate to 'The Life of Julia'
How do we know that "women" can relate? Well, there are four bits of evidence that Grey provides. Since its introduction it's received over 37,000 "likes" on Facebook. And that's not all. She also finds three witnesses to testify to the ad's effectiveness.

Witness number one:
"Julia" “is a very effective form of communication,” veteran Democratic consultant Bob Shrum told me Friday, saying Julia clarified the clear choice between the candidates on a whole set of issues relating to women, tying in with what he said was the overall theme of the Obama campaign: “who is going to stand up and fight for you?”

Far from discouraged, Shrum seemed heartened by the conservative response: “I sure wish Romney would go out in this campaign and say, ‘I don’t want the government providing these prenatal services to women. I don’t want the government providing programs for kids to go to college. I don’t want the government providing Medicare as a single guaranteed system that protects seniors.’”
Well, there you go. Bob Shrum endorses the ad and he's been consultant to how many winning presidential campaigns? Oh, that's right. None. In fact, he's been on the losing end of eight presidential campaigns. So he knows all about how to lead Democrats to victory.

But the author has another witness.
Randall Rothenberg, the president and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the American trade association for interactive marketing, was equally as enthusiastic about the slideshow’s potential, seeing it as a better medium for communicating the campaign’s message. “
So a guy who makes his living from interactive marketing likes the Obama campaign's use of interactive marketing and thinks that slideshows are the way to go in web ads. Some surprise there.

So we have two men who are supposed to be our witnesses that this is actually a campaign that will strongly appeal to women. Hmmm, something wrong there.

But the reporter does talk to one woman who thinks it is a good idea.
Democratic pollster Celinda Lake also sees the slideshow as an effective way to convey policy differences between Obama and Romney, and what those would mean to women.

“People are in a very serious mood,” she says. “They really want to know the facts. Women, in particular, are saying that it’s increasingly difficult to get information.”

“What is really important here is that [the Obama campaign] is giving women information that they’re able to pass on to their friends and family.” According to Lake’s research, “one third of women today say that they get their information from friends and family.”

The slideshow is effective, she says, because it’s “not like an economics professor delivering a lecture to you. It has cultural cues that seem in touch” with women. She added that it’s slick style—think Real Simple magazine meets airline safety instruction card meets Daria—makes it something women would send to others.
So a Democratic pollster thinks that the ad is a good idea. Now that's really surprising. And she knows because she thinks women don't talk about politics, but they're going to want to talk about Julia because it gave them all this nice, yummy information. And besides, these women must be too dumb to ask where all the money is coming from to pay for all this cradle-to-grave government support.

And isn't that inability to understand that such support has to be paid for by someone just what the Obama team is banking on. And if you ask Democratic political operatives and a guy in web advertising, the Democrats and the media will be able to figure out what it is that women want.

They could have gone to Chaucer's Wife of Bath to figure that out, but then the Wife of Bath wasn't looking for government to support and protect her throughout her life.

But I can find more wisdom in Chaucer than in Bob Shrum.