Ad War Update: reaching the endgame

With two days of official campaign left, the candidates are rushing to make the most with the little time they have left. This is also visible on the airwaves and the inter-tubes.

Henrique Capriles Radonski wanted his commercials to play on the main state TV channel VTV, and its president William Castillo said there was no problem (even if he didn’t like the spots). But the ads never aired and Capriles complained that they were censored.

His camp has put all of them on YouTube for all to see and one important detail is that those ads were tailor-made to run there.

In one of them he addresses public employees directly to calm down their possible fears:

He also made ads for “mission” beneficiaries and talks about the political use of PDVSA.

In similar style, he brings the issue of security and explains what he will do if he’s elected.

Meanwhile, the Maduro camp released this one-minute spot, which is probably the closest we’ve seen so far to a biographical look of Nicolás Maduro, instead of simply repeat over and over again the endorsement of the late comandante presidente.

This feels like too little, too late. The whole theme of Maduro’s campaign was Chavez’s public pledge and now they’re realizing the need to introduce him to voters? The spot also fails to deliver because this was a case for “show, don’t tell”. Where are the old photos and videos? Where are the testimonies of people close to him? C’mon, even Jaua tried harder…

In another commercial, they show us how many places in the country Maduro has been so far, but unlike the candidate himself they got the names of the Venezuelan states right.

I think the “heartbeat” commercials were enough. The rest from Maduro is dissapointing.

27 thoughts on “Ad War Update: reaching the endgame

  1. So this is confirmed? Capriles has ZERO presence in VTV? Is there any add that they’ve showed at all? I mean, we all knew this was going to happen but come on, not even one add?
    How about coverege of any of the rallies? Nothing of that either? How do people in the barrios even find out when there is a rally to attend? Do they even know he exists?


  2. Let’s see how maduro does on the acts of 11-13 of april, that will be decisive for chavista abstention.

    Also, Capriles should attempt to counter that tomorrow, saying something along the lines of distancing himself from the violent past, how the opposition has grown since then, how they have realized the value of democracy, how you must not let the official speech manipulate you, how, even if that speech was right, they’re not the same as on april 11th, and most importantly, how things have turned for the worse in all that time, regardless of what happened on those day… this is the opportunity to do things right, as one united people working towards a better future.

    If he does that right, and maduro makes blunders, that may be what tips the scales, maduro will attempt to remind chavista voters about el golpe and some of the doubtful, if they drink the kool-aid, will agree and think that no matter how bad maduro is, “the right” is far much worse.

    Capriles ain’t getting that much more votes than on 7-O, he has to focus on making the chavista voter either turn (extremely difficult) or abstain. That’s why he has to counter maduros’ speech, abstention hurts government much more that it does to oppo.


  3. Hey, I saw those ads on VTV, after Maduro’s rally in La Guaira ended. It was around 3:55pm Pacific Time (6:25pm Caracas), and first they showed something about Enchufados, then the one about security, then the one about public sector employees. All off them back to back, after that mini-block, there was a pronunciation of a VTV anchor reading a letter saying it laments that Capriles turned down VTV’s invitation to appear in a program.

    So I kept on having VTV on the background, a TV show started with some pundits, and they showed Globovisión’s feed of the Capriles concentration in Carabobo. Conservatively I would say that it was about 5 minutes of his speech. It’s kind of funny how we can easily accept that VTV doesn’t show anything of Capriles, or talk about their bias, there is some truth to that, but I, for one, can say that those ads did show up on VTV.


      • I’m not a regular VTV watcher, and I don’t plan to watch it for the rest of the week. But that did take me by surprise, so much so that I commented it to a few friends as it happened (ergo, I was able to recall the exact time it aired). I don’t think it’s too hard to have someone TiVo all of VTV, and then search for Capriles ads. (Watching VTV all the time is not allowed by the Geneva Conventions)


  4. I heard an NPR coverage this morning of the elections. The discussion was around the looks of the candidates and the people that follow them. The “whiter” upper middle richer class supported Capriles who looks european and the “darker” lower poorer class followed Chavez/Maduro who looked/look more like a typical criollo/native indian. The comments hit me as they have never done it before. If that is true, neither Airas, Rosales or Capriles never had a chance in the past, nor will Capriles have a chance this week. Off course, it is more complicated than that. We will have to wait and see.


  5. @Fidelio, I heard the NPR piece earlier today and to be frank I went to their website to make sure that I had heard correctly that Rory Carroll said, “…when you enter Caracas, there are these very steep valleys, and up on the slopes are these cheaply built, red brick, corrugated tin roof slums, and they’re kind of clinging to the hillsides, and this is where the poor people live. And if you continue more into the downtown, there’s an elevated valley there, and the air is much fresher, it’s cooler, you have some respite from the tropical heat…” As a Caraqueño, I wondered what he was talking about when he said that the air is much fresher as you continue into “the downtown” – NOT! This statement makes me question the legitimacy of Mr. Carroll and everything that he said.
    Mr. Carroll also said that “Venezuela is a country of extremes — and extreme inequality.” NOT! Certainly not when you compare Venezuela to places like Colombia or Peru (some of you are going to dispute the statistics that the government publishes in this regard, but that is a discussion for another day).
    Lastly, as a point of clarification, Fidelio, Mr. Carroll said, and this is possibly the only thing that I believe he stated correctly as it relates to Chavez, “His skin was brown … he had indigenous and African slave ancestry, and he was very proud of it, and I think rightly so, and he would often allude to this.”


    • ElPipo – nothing wrong having a certain look and ancenstry, except when you use it to divide with hate a country where EVERYONE is Venezuelan.


    • Check out page 58 of Carroll’s book Comandante. Evocative description of the geography of inequality in Caracas. He knows both. It is possible that you lived all your life in Caracas and do not. Good book. You should read it.


  6. Nitpicking a bit here but they didn’t get the names of the States quite right…

    “Caracas” is not as state as far as I remember (with so many changes, rearrangements and corpo-something-supra-state structures who really knows?). If they are listing the states Maduro has been rallying in then it should be either Miranda, Distrito Capital, or both.

    Stickler signing off.


  7. “His camp has put all of them on YouTube for all to see…”

    But only those who intentionally go to YouTube and view will ever see them. Who will do that, other than oppositionists and a small number of uncommitted?

    No chavista, even the most lukewarm, is likely to make the effort.

    It would be one thing if the “ad” was an extended statement of policy – that would attract people who think “Let’s hear what he has to say.” But why spend even a minute viewing a mere exhortation or collection of sound bites?

    I’m not saying the ads are not good ads – but who voluntarily chooses to watch (or listen to or read) an ad? Ads are presented to people either embedded in other media or displayed in public places, to catch the eye, and then present the audience with the sales pitch.

    But the audience will not make the slightest effort to view an ad that is not already visible. An occasional ad draws voluntary attention for its production values or surprising content – but only if there is talk about it in other media.

    (One exception: catalog-type ads, where the seller is known to the audience, and the audience will look to find out what’s for sale and what the prices are.)

    ISTM that the only use of these ads is to reinforce the commitment of supporters who come to view the site.

    Also, I don’t think the percentage of Venezuelans who have broadband and are Web-savvy enough to view on-line video is very high – and I suspect that nearly all of them are middle- to upper-class oppo voters or rojo intelligentsia.


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