Coming soon to a TV near you: Your congressman shooting something

at 01:30 PM ET, 06/08/2012

Who knew that when West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin ran an ad in 2010 that featured him shooting a hole in the congressional cap and trade bill he would spark a trend of shooting firearms in political TV commercials?

In Oklahoma, congressional candidate Rob Wallace (D) recently released an ad featuring video of him shooting a map of the state of Texas pegged to the back of a water jug. The ad, of course, was about a water dispute between the two states.

And this week, Arizona congressional candidate Ron Gould (R) is up with his own ad in which he shoots President Obama’s health care bill as if it were a clay pigeon. (Really.) Gould adds the extra-satisfying — if you oppose Obamacare — image of the bill exploding in mid-air.

A look at the original from Manchin shows just how similar the new ads are to his original.

Now, we should emphasize here that it’s hardly unusual for a media consultant to borrow a (successful) idea from another campaign. Instances of candidates running in­cred­ibly similar ads are too many to count, and there are so many set-pieces in the media consultant world (diners, kitchen tables, showcasing the candidate’s mom or family) that a truly novel idea seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

In fact, Manchin isn’t even the first candidate to shoot a gun in his ad.

But in Manchin’s case, he seems to be spawning a wholly new brand of ads in which the main message is: “I’m so tough on XYZ, I’ll shoot it with a gun (and by the way, I like guns too).”

Given there were two copycats in the span of one week at the start of the 2012 ad wars, expect to see more where these came from.

 
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