Kroger & Macpherson hit the airwaves

The candidates for Attorney General have each gone on the air with their initial TV spots.

From the John Kroger campaign:

From the Greg Macpherson campaign:


  • Steve (unverified)

    The Macpherson ad is extremely better. Kroger's ad is just more of the same.

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    Interesting to see Kroger go hard with the prosecutor's image. My guess is that many voters don't know how little of that--even by Kroger's standards--the AG job encompasses, but that it will sound pretty appealing to them, nonetheless.

    For Mac to open up with a negative ad tells me where he thinks he is in the race. He sure spent a lot of money on special effects, didn't he? All to get Kroger to say "good question?"

    Both are pretty much the same old, but I think on balance Kroger's will be a lot more effective, particularly with low info voters.

  • Stephen Holland (unverified)

    The Macpherson ad is really clever and well done, but also incredibly unfair. The Kroger ad, while more typical, is still a good introductory ad that drives his brand of experience and his message home.

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    I get that Macpherson was trying to play on the Mac commercials, but his is just missing all the humor that is usually found in the commercials. This was one of those cases where the wrong kind of humor was used. Every candidate is different, and some kinds of humor work better on one person than they do the other.

    While Kroger's commercial was more of the typical commercial than Macpherson's, it was exactly the kind of commercial that is needed for an AG race. Once again, Macpherson spent his time on legislative accomplishments and did little to show Oregonians why he should be their next AG, what he would do as their next AG, etc.

    I can tell you that in areas like Gresham, it is Kroger's ad that will play well. It actually is a commercial for AG, not a commercial that is so generic it could be used for any statewide position, a legislative position, etc.

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    Yea, I hope Kroger's next ad will get more into the environment, meth, child support enforcement, etc. type topics. But this was definitely a good intro to Kroger and his legal experience.

  • Barbara (unverified)

    I would hardly call the Macpherson ad negative. He introduces himself and his record and then goes comparative against Kroger. Mark Wiener does Kroger's ads. I can only imagine what kind of sleeze that will soon infiltrate our televisions.

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    Macphersan's ad is inside baseball, too clever by half and not easily understood.

    Kroger's ad is a pitch right in the strike zone.

  • DW (unverified)

    Kroger's ad is the very kind of ad that Steve Novick is mocking, and rightly so. This election cycle is about change and showing the voters something new and different. Kroger does nothing but brag about what he HASN'T done for Oregon. It also attacks Greg by implying that only Kroger has the "right experience" for the AG job.

    Mac's ad is sharp and humorous.

  • Patsy (unverified)

    If a comparison ad counts as negative, then both ads are negative. Kroger's ad says he's the only one in the race who has ever tried a case. Of course, that's a direct shot at Macpherson's lack of trial experience.

    Of course, Macpherson's ad is more effective, since a record of legislative accomplishment is a more important reason for decision than which one of these guys has spent more time in a courtroom.

  • Mark (unverified)

    As an outsider Republican looking in on this primary, the Macpherson ad shows great personality and character which is really what the voters are looking for this election. Kroger's ad is simple and mundane. It will be interesting to see which candidate comes out on top.

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    Macpherson's ad is amusing and clever, but I think it's possible that Kroger's ad will be more effective with voters who aren't really sure what the AG does, but know that he is the top lawyer for the state.

    Full disclosure: I'm holding a house party for John Kroger in about four hours. %^>

  • verasoie (unverified)

    I have to believe that emphasizing Macpherson's accomplishments in Oregon will get him some support. I think John Kroger is a great choice, but I must confess to a bit of resentment towards an out-of-stater parachuting in to Oregon and running for a top statewide position after only having been here a few years. Where are the connections to the state?

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    Steph, I feel better now for missing the party; I'm sick today.

    "I would hardly call the Macpherson ad negative. He introduces himself and his record and then goes comparative against Kroger."

    Come on now. Anytime you gin up an image of your opponent and then claim he's done nothing for Oregon--which is both inaccurate on its face, since Enron is an Oregon corporation that was avoiding Oregon's taxes while conspiring to fuck people over from right in downtown Portland, and mocks being a law professor in one of Oregon's better universities as "nothing"--you've gone negative.

    Saying "I'm the only one who..." sets you apart without specifically dimunizing any one opponent (although when there's just one it's more obvious who you're referring to). I think it's a positive way to make a contrast. And Kroger's point is factually verifiable, right? Mac saying Kroger's done nothing is more provably wrong than right, but it's also a specific put down in a broad way. How about "I'm the only one in the race committed to M11 reform?," which although I disagree with, is true and a main selling point for Mac support?

    I also agree that the tone and format is very well worn, but I think Jenni's point is excellent and something I also noticed: it's an AGs ad, you know it's for AG, and he's talking about AG stuff (w/ liberties, as I said earlier). If you resign yourself to the idea that yours is not going to be the 1 in 100 people remember afterwards, at least get a simple message across.

    Mac's ad was supposed to be about PC vs Mac? I LOVE those commercials (I think the one where the yoga teacher freaks about Vista is great, although I'm using it on laptop now and really like it, at least among Windows OS), and I didn't get that. I see it now, but huh.

    Shorter Kroger: Attorney general. Ethical prosecutor. Busts people, including white collar.

    Shorter Mac: I live in Oregon! I did some stuff. That guy's not FROM here.

    No contest.

  • A. Rab. (unverified)

    One of the differences between the two ads is the type of comparisons they draw. Kroger points to the difference in courtroom experience, which is a fact that nether campaign disputes. However, Macpherson's attack on Kroger is simply wrong, Kroger does have a record in the state. Kroger has been training the new generation of lawyers, he worked on behalf of the state party to take back the legislature, and Kroger prosecuted Enron, which was an Oregon company.

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    Yeah, I have to agree with Stephanie. The Mac ad is far more clever and will stand out from the countless other ads we'll be seeing this election season (though I think the execution could've been better—the flow is a little lacking). I'm not sure it will be any more effective though. Once again, he fails to address the number one concern I and others have with him, and that's lack of vision for the future.

    Kroger's ad is a typical fluffy bio piece, establishing who he is and what he stands for. I think it's good for what it is, but nothing too exciting.

    As for the negativity, any time you show your opponent (particularly with a washed-out color palette and automaton-like voice), and refer to him with a diminutive nickname that no one else uses, I think yes, that probably qualifies as going negative.

  • Dylan (unverified)

    I gotta admit that I'm pretty put-off by the comments of the MacPherson supporters on here:

    Barbara writes: "I would hardly call the Macpherson ad negative. He introduces himself and his record and then goes comparative against Kroger."

    When Greg asked John at the City Club debate what he has done for Oregon (which I now see was asked for the purpose of creating this commercial) John gave a good answer that included training a generation of competent and ethical attorneys in the state. I am sorry Greg didn't get the answer he wanted, but for him to use silence to list John's accomplishments is misleading and quite negative.

    Barbara writes: "Mark Wiener does Kroger's ads. I can only imagine what kind of sleeze that will soon infiltrate our televisions."

    Wow! To attack John for a negative ad that does not yet exist while your candidate is using his opponent's image in a disparaging light takes some serious chutzpah.

    Patsy writes: "Of course, Macpherson's ad is more effective, since a record of legislative accomplishment is a more important reason for decision than which one of these guys has spent more time in a courtroom."

    Anyone who starts an opinion with the words "of course" is probably more than a little full of themselves. I disagree with the generalization, but I can understand how someone could reasonably end up arriving at this opinion.

    DW writes and I paraphrase: [Kroger's ad is vile and contemptuous, representing the worst of humanity while MacPherson's ad is perfect, sent to us from the heavens.]

    Come on. Neither ad is great and neither ad is terrible. These two candidates have adopted different strategies with their first ad and that is all. None of us knows which one, in the end, will be more effective.

    Steve writes: "The Macpherson ad is extremely better."

    OK, this one is just funny.

  • Faolan (unverified)

    The different views expressed here hilariously highlight the capacity for Democrats in this State and possibly this country to be just as delusional as Republicans.

    One ad says I am the best candidate and here's why, simply but relatively succesfully. The other ad says I've done all this great stuff and my opponent hasn't done anything AT ALL. But it also does it in a pathetically bad attempt at copying on of today's truly great and effective ad campaigns. When you try to be funny and fail and especially when you try to funny, while making fun of your opponent, and fail it makes you look truly pathetic, mean and even more unfunny.

    Macpherson's ad is mean and petty and lame. It will probably get him a few extra points because a lot of the people watching it are dumb sheep who think being mean and petty is funny.

    I say all this as someone who mildly favored Kroger based off of a on air interview I heard on KPOJ months ago. He sounded tough and straightforward and I liked that. The other candidates who talked, Macpherson among them, sounded fine but not inspiring or stand outish to me.

    My opinion was not extraordinarily strong because I just haven't had time to delve into either candidate a lot yet. But now I can firmly say I am glad my initial instinct was a good one. Macpherson is a jackass trying to be a bully and failing. Kroger seems solid and professional.

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    Yea, that has to be one of my favorite of the Mac vs. PC commercials. They crack me up even though I've been using Vista for about a year now without any problems (although I've turned off auto updates because I'm a bit worried about the service pack).

    Normally I wouldn't think a commercial like that would be too memorable, but I think because of the two candidates he's the only one doing one like that, it might actually just stand out more. The fact that people are extremely worried about stuff like meth, identity theft, the revolving door at some of our jails, etc., that the commercial might just hit the right button in a lot of the undecided voters. Sure, the criminal part may be a small portion of what the AG's office does, but it's the part people in communities like Gresham are often going to connect with the most.

    It's kind of like the SOS race. The SOS does a lot more than elections, but that's what everyone thinks about. They don't think about the corporate division, or even that the SOS is next in line for the governor's office.

  • Winter (unverified)

    Hmm ... a jokester politician that draws paralells between choosing the State's top legal counsel and choosing a personal computer ... or someone that has actually been in court before, served in the Marines, and taken on the likes of Enron and organized crime. How can this be a difficult choice for Oregonians?

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    Macpherson's add is absolutely horrible.

    It demonstrates unbelievably bad judgment.

    I'm embarrassed.

  • Jason Skelton (unverified)

    Is it fair to say that Mark Weiner is Oregon's version of Mark Penn?

    I have no idea whether Weiner is working for Kroger. And Kroger is obviously the better one for the AG job. What has G-mac done so far in his career to suggest he wanted to be an AG--other than running for this office? Still, G-mac should become governor some day.

  • JHL (unverified)

    So basically, the crux of the Macpherson ad is that John Kroger wasn't in the legislature when Macpherson voted for those bills and was therefore unable to cast votes of his own?

    It's an interesting tighrope walk: One one side, Macpherson's only advantage on Kroger is his time in the legislature. On the other side, he doesn't want to add to his own fuddy-duddy "establishment" image. So the result is an awkward explanation that Macpherson cast more votes than Kroger.

    When I realized it was a spoof of a Mac/PC ad (halfway through), I cringed... I see where they were going, but Macpherson is just shy of being hip enough to make it work.

    'A' for concept, 'B+' for execution... 'C-' for effectiveness.

    Kroger's is cool, but usual. But hey, why mess with a classic? It'll serve him well.

  • ej (unverified)

    While I realize that Greg was a player on getting 49 to the ballot, I was a full time staff member and I don't remember seeing him around the office.

    I do remember John speaking at a house party for Yes on 49 and explaining the measure to a group of Reed students who gave up their coffee money for a week to help the campaign.

    I remember 1000s of volunteers phone banking and going door to door, I remember a dedicated staff working 12 hours or more a day, but I honestly don't remember seeing Greg there.

    The people of Oregon passed M49 and I thank them for that.

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    I think the ads are basically a draw.

    Kroger's "I've been in court 1000 times" raises a non-isuse for the AG. It's also suspect, as there are only roughly 1200 working days in his non-teaching career, and the Enron task force (a full year of that) would not have been a "get in court every day" assignment. Responding to scheduing conferences is hardly what should honestly be called a "court appearance." And, by the way, it's not even THAT Enron case. The ad does not stress vision.

    Macpherson's ad does stress resume rather than vision, and therefore keeps playing into Kroger's criticism of him. But it, in its own way, is also a rather standard ad, as underlying the humor is simply the basic "here are the key issues I stood for which show why you should vote for me."

    Both are heavy on "what I've done" and light on "what I'll do." Neither provides a basis for why HE should be AG.

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    Mark Wiener does Kroger's ads. I can only imagine what kind of sleeze that will soon infiltrate our televisions.

    IJWTS that Mark Weiner has done some wonderful work. For example, two years ago he made a terrific commercial in support of the Multnomah County library levy. I don't always pay attention to who the ad guy is and so I'm not sure I'm familiar with his entire output, but whenever I see somebody saying something like this I suspect an ulterior agenda of some kind.

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    Oregon attracts sharp professionals like Kroger. The PC vs. Mac ad is not gonna play well to the average Jill or Joe. The open field line is not strong against "tried 1000 cases" or Enron, Mafia,drug cartels.

    Novick's ad's have gone negative, seen his latest?

  • Young and maybe stupid (unverified)

    Neither of these ads are great. The Kroger ad is the same old stuff we've seen for decades. But at least it is what it tries to be, an introduction to Kroger and his talking points. The Macpherson ad is an attempt to capture the magic that Novick has had. And if fails terribly. He just comes across awkward to me, and the funny from the Mac and PC commercials comes from the interplay of the two, which is missing from the Macpherson ad. While I dont see it as negative the way others seem to, I see it as a poor commercial.

    I also have to agree with "ej" in that Macpherson's claim of "passing 49" is slim on the facts, as last I checked it was unable to be passed in session and was passed by Oregon Voters. I also dont remember seeing Macpherson during the 49 campaign other than at a few events where he talked for a few minutes, though I do remember alot of poorly paid hard working grassroots organizers who barely slept.

    To sum up:

    Kroger played it safe, and stayed within his comfort zone

    Macpherson reached and fell flat.

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    As any seasoned ballot measure fighter will tell you, 90% of the battle (especially when trying to pass something instead of defeat it) is before there's even a campaign. It's about content and ballot titles, which is what Greg led on.

    Sure, voters and the campaign can take credit, but Greg lead the legislature to create a measure that survived a $1.8 (or more?) million attack against it and still get 62% of the vote.

    Part of that is because the Yes on 49 campaign raised a bunch of money and worked really hard -- thanks to those of you who worked on the campaign. Some of that money came from 13 Enviros, or other events, where Greg told people what was at stake.

    Sure he didn't do it alone, just like Kroger didn't fight Enron or the mafia alone. But Mac should be able to take significant credit for Measure 49, and the fact that he can't be nuanced about it in a 30 second ad shouldn't count against him.

  • Young and maybe stupid (unverified)

    Evan, this "I passed 49" statement is a line Machperson has used over and over again in this campaign, even in long form debates and interviews. I agree that 90% of the battle of any initiative is the title. Yet saying he "Passed" the initiative is different than saying he wrote, supported, or was key in its passing.

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    I'd love to know about how political ads work. Does anyone have any background or a link to data that might allow us to evaluate these as effective or ineffective? It's nice to make a "clever" ad (though I have to say I don't think Macpherson's is, particularly), but do clever ads work? Kroger's communicates background in legal matters. For those who are unfamiliar with the AG position, is this good? ("I'm a good attorney, I'm running for Attorney General.")

  • Daniel Eisenbeis (unverified)

    Greg Macpherson worked tirelessly, though certainly not alone, to help craft Measure 49 and get it referred to the ballot. He also took a lot of flack in doing so. Then he volunteered to speak in favor of M49 at numerous forums and debates. It's simply inaccurate to somehow suggest (as some the comments in this thread do) that he hardly helped the campaign.

  • ej (unverified)

    Dan and Evan,

    I didn't mean to say that Greg didn't help 49. I certainly know that his work on the title and the measure itself was instrumental to passing 49, I simply take offense at his repeated statement that HE passed 49. None of us can take credit for that, though you did work your tail off Dan and you know I dig that about you.

    That said, I have heard Greg talk about 49 on numerous occasions and I every time I hear it I wonder when he will go into detail about what is was that he did and what the campaign, volunteers, and voters did.

  • Anon (unverified)

    Oregon's Mark Penn (Weiner) might not be a great TV guy, if he truly did that ad. Kroger's ad is almost a characature of a trial counsel ad. And Kroger won't take a cent unless you get your just compensation.

  • Susan Shawn (unverified)

    Greg's ad looks like the ad of a desperate politician, trying to belittle his opponent. I have seen these two debate over and over again, and in real time, it is John who has so much of substance to offer, it is John who gets the standing ovations, and it is Greg who seems to offer us open space.

    That said, I do appreciate what Greg did as a legislator for M. 49. He does great work in Salem. We do not owe him the AG's office for doing what he was elected to do.

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    Hey folks, listen up: Mark Weiner makes direct mail, not TV. I'm sure as a highly-involved consultant, he's got TONS of input into the messaging, the strategy, even the scripts, but he's a direct mail and general consultant -- not a TV producer.

    Mark and I are on opposite sides of some races this year, and on the same side of some races this year. He's highly talented, but I can promise you, when it's time for TV to get made, he brings in the TV guys.

    For example, here's an example that's public and you all know about: Mark is a consultant to the Novick campaign, but the TV spots are all made by Eichenbaum & Associates. Remember?

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    Thanks for clearing that up, Kari. That's what I thought from the little interaction I had with them while working on some campaigns. But I didn't know for sure.

  • james s (unverified)

    Thanks, Greg! The Political Science crowd can debate whether your ad was "negative" or not, but I'll trust my common sense and be voting for John.

    Your characterization of John was juvenile, petty and misleading, given the fact John precisely and thoroughly answered the exact same question when you posed it to him during a debate. But I guess John's answer wouldn't have worked well in your ad so you had to pretend he didn't answer the question. This is exactly the type of sleaze factor I won't support.

    Now, where can I get a Kroger lawn sign....

  • Rulial (unverified)

    I haven’t decided how I am going to vote yet. I didn’t like either ad very much.

    About Kroger’s ad, I’ll echo DW’s comment that “Kroger's ad is the very kind of ad that Steve Novick is mocking, and rightly so.”

    Macpherson’s ad, on the other hand, seemed needlessly petty. He could have made the same point by saying “I’m the only candidate in the race that’s held elective office”, and then listing his legislative accomplishments.

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    Hey folks, listen up: Mark Weiner makes direct mail, not TV.

    Actually, Mark Weiner does direct mail and television. At least one of his TV spots earned a pollie: Winning Mark.

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    Oh, and it's "Wiener" with an "i" before the "e".

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    Thanks, Charlie. I stand corrected. It looks like Mark does do a little TV now and then (though not usually.)

  • Jonathan Radmacher (unverified)

    Does anyone else find it odd that Kroger's ad doesn't have his voice ANYWHERE, not even at the end? Particularly for someone touting their work as a courtroom lawyer, where's the booming, compelling voice? Particularly where his demeanor and look are not of an orator, I was looking for some really scintillating speechifying.

  • Justin (unverified)

    Actually Jonathan, you are just looking for a reason to complain about Kroger's ad. Judging by your earlier pro-mac posts on here.

  • Shauna (unverified)

    Knowing little about either candidate, I've just about decided on who to vote for on the basis of these ads and some investigation of the validity of their claims. I'll probably vote for Kroger. The Macpherson ad is silly and insulting to the viewer, while the Kroger ad may be boring, but it's informative and doesn't lie. The office the 2 are running for is Attorney General, right? What's funny about that? I wish people would stop looking for candidates who entertain or who they can have a beer with. Government is serious, fairly boring work (except for those serious, boring people most call wonks.)

  • LT (unverified)

    I liked Greg's ad. Witty without being nasty.

    Kroger's ad reminded me of what I don't like about him---I've lived through too many AG campaigns (and known people who worked with the AG) to believe the job is primarily that of a prosecutor.

  • Susan Shawn (unverified)

    In Greg Macpherson's current TV ad for his campaign for Oregon's Attorney General, he states: "I passed Measure 49." While we have great regard and gratitude for Mr. Macpherson's legislative ability to draft a measure that would help correct the imbalances of Measure 37, which was a land use disaster, we think he is vastly overstating his powers.

    Thousands of people worked non-stop to pass Measure 49, all over the state. In fact, we had 11,000 volunteers and over 4,000 donors who passed Measure 49, and Greg was one of those. We, all together, passed Measure 49.

    We ask that he amend and correct his remarks.

    Liz Kaufman 23622 S Fellows Road Beavercreek, Oregon 97004 503-630-6641

    Susan and Eric Shawn 13655 SE Briarfield Court Oak Grove, Oregon 97222 503-659-9338

    Charlie Stephens 14115 Rimrock Lane Oak Grove, Oregon 97267 503-786-7316

    Nancy Bond 34950 SE Colorado Rd. Sandy, Oregon 97055 503-826-9298

    Sha Spady 17855 Alden STreet Oregon City, Oregon 97045 [email protected]

    Susan Hansen and Randy Hironimus P.O. Box 50 Molalla, Oregon 503-829-6818

    Tim Hermach 490 Park Avenue Eugene, Oregon 97404 541-688-2600

    Ed Riddle 14207 SE Fairoaks Avenue Oak Grove, Oregon 97267 503-737-5209

    Patti Jarrett 19775 S. Central Point Road Oregon City, Oregon 503-657-9668

    Emily Jackson P.O. Box 17031 Portland, Oregon 97217 503-320-5990

    Terry Dolan and Catherine Blosser 14912 SE Fairoaks Avenue Oak Grove, Oregon 97267 503-659-3818

    Kami Kehoe 17033 S Holly Lane Oregon City, Oregon 97045 503-722-2046

    Chips and Daphne Janger 14068 SE Fairoaks Avenue Oak Grove, Oregon 97267 503-381-4132

    Sue Marshall 15941 SW Inverurie Road Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035 503-635-7873

    Susan Gates 21891 SE Cottontail Drive Sandy, Oregon 97055 503-668-9628

    Terry and Willy Moore 8440 SW Godwin Court Garden Home, Oregon 97223

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