by Alan Lange

Well, TV ads have hit the air in Jackson’s mayoral race for the only primary race – on the Democratic side. We have obtained the “introductory” ads from both candidates and we will analyze them as well as make them available for your own review.

Johnson’s Introductory Ad

Introduction Ad

Information regarding production was unavailable. It will be updated as we receive.

Ad Text
You can tell a lot about people by their friends and their foes.
The privileged and powerful ran Jackson a long time. Something I’ve worked to change.
We’ve begun an economic revival in every part of our city.
Even one crime is one too many. But we’re moving in the right direction. Making Jackson safer.
I am a lifelong Democrat out of commitment not convenience.
Our progress has enemies, but together we’ll make sure they can’t turn us back.

Analysis
I wasn’t sure I believed what I saw in this ad when I first saw it on TV. However, after having viewed it a dozen times, the message seems pretty clear. Right out of the chute, the ad seems laced with code words like “enemies” and “foes”. Very divisive language.

The priveleged and the powerful ran Jackson for a long time. Something I’ve worked to change.

This is certainly thinly veiled class warfare language and given the tenor of the campaign, it has very definite racial overtones. When taken by itself, it seems almost accidental. However, there are several examples that the Johnson campaign is trying to drive a wedge between black and white. That effort goes back to early March, where “the plumber” deep within the Johnson campaign started the ball rolling with emails questioning issues such as Melton’s residency, party loyalty, and voting record. With Derrick Johnson quoted by WLBT on 4/11 as saying “he (Melton) didn’t vote on any of the crucial issues that’s important to the African American community,” it seems like Johnson’s campaign has completely written off the vote and support of white Jacksonians completely. That quote was not accidental.

Then, Our progress has enemies, but together we’ll make sure they can’t turn us back.

Sounds like “We (whoever that is) have beaten back the priveleged (whoever that is), but they are trying to take things back through this guy Melton. Vote for me and we will make sure and keep them in their place.”

In the most recent Supreme Court race in 2004, the media really jumped on Judge Samac Richardson in his losing effort against Judge Graves for using some similar “code words” with the slogan “One of us for all of us”. It will be interesting to see if Jackson’s media and editorial writers pick up on the same languaging here.

Johnson is certainly seeming to placing his bets on solely the African American vote. It will be interesting to see if the tactic works.

Melton’s Introductory Ad

Introduction Ad

Produced by Jim Dollarhide from Jackson, MS.

Ad Text
I’m Frank Melton and over the next few weeks, I’ll be talking to you about the issues that affect us most here in Jackson.

Economic Development, Urban Decay, Housing, Our Neighborhoods, Children And our future

And of course, you know I’ll talk about crime which is tied to all of the above.
But the things I want you to think about the most are leadership and getting things done.
I think you know me. And I think you know I’ll get results

Analysis
The knock on the Melton campaign is that it has been long on imagery and short on specifics. This ad certainly falls along the lines of imagery.

Melton’s bet seems to be that everyone knows who he is and has formulated some opinion of him . . . good, bad or indifferent. That’s probably true. A constant refrain in his TV ads, of which he has three different ones running right now is, I think you know me. And I think you know I’ll get results. He seems to bet that his history in Jackson buys him credibility that he does not have to explain to the nth degree of detail.

So far with his paid media, Melton has steered clear of answering charges about his residency and his voting record opting to talk about specific issues. There is not much depth on any issue as a 30 second commercial doesn’t provide for it, but it does seem to echo his tone to keep the campaign about the issues.

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