July 26, 2012
Not Going for the Gold: Romney and the Dem’s Super PAC Olympic Attack Ad
“The Olympic Games are a celebration of friendship, excellence and respect,” said U.S. Olympic Committee spokesperson Patrick Sandusky. “While we are absolutely confident that neither presidential candidate nor campaign has participated in the production or distribution of these negative ads , the attacks, using Olympic themes and images, need to stop. Tomorrow we will celebrate America’s finest athletes’ accomplishments and watch Team USA march in the parade of nations. For anything even remotely negative to be associated with that time-honored, inspirational moment would be extremely unfortunate.”
Well, that’s a relief. We wouldn’t wan’t to have any ads on the airwaves getting confused with the Olympics brand, would we, given the mega-dollars of “official” commercial advertising soaked into the Games.
Before the US Olympic Committee demanded that the Priorities USA Action Democratic Super-PAC pull their Olympic-themed anti-Romney ad, I was simply intending to write about how optically smart, plain and simple the video was. The mission: spoil any association between Romney and his Salt Lake City Olympics record before Romney could use the London games and his presence in town to burnish the connection and score points off of it himself.
The frames above give you the idea (and the links at the bottom of the post hopefully lead you to where you can still see the ad.)
With the IOC action, though, I’m wondering if there isn’t more going on here, given that the ad really isn’t about the Olympics at all but, instead, is using the games mostly as an analogy to hit Romney for shipping jobs overseas and for “creative” financial dealings off-shore.
Of course, the ad needed to tie in Romney and the Olympics in at least one specific way to justify the analogy. But the outsourcing of a few Olympic uniforms? Beyond a bit of pro-labor candy to make the Olympic analogy concrete, what the ad mostly does is steer way clear of a highly taboo media and cultural subject — one that has been otherwise smoldering all year and has, at least briefly, seared a hole through the college sports empire. And what’s that? It’s the power relationship between the sports industrial complex and major corporate advertisers designed to enrich each other (especially by way of this two-week media orgy every four years) with largely unpaid athletes providing the product and pumped-up fans in the summer doldrums providing the eyeballs.
The key frame, in this regard, is this one where you see the Olympic officials in the Olympic box just above the Romney graphic. The irony here is that, because your attention is drawn to the info in the graphic (Romney’s “making uniforms” only earning third place?!), you almost completely disregard the folks in the power box, or “the man behind the curtain,” as they say.
Knowing that the Priorities USA Action Super PAC is staffed by former Obama deputy press secretary Bill Burton, and understanding that the Dems, trolling for the big bucks, are feeding as much at the corporate trough as the Republicans, my question is: do you really think this Democratic PAC ad would push Romney about his Olympic role, or how the U.S. Olympic Committee and the IOC do business?
Just ask Penn State.
(screenshots: Priorities USA Action)