Commercials in the Seattle mayor’s race

With the August primary heating up, we thought we would run down a few of the commercials on the air in the Seattle mayor’s race.  Here are a couple that we found that were worth a review.


Cary Moon

Cary Moon is legit, and in a different race, might be the one to watch.  She’s impressive as a candidate, well funded, with great civic experience.  The challenge for her is that she’s in a crowded field.  Her commercial doesn’t help her break out. It’s sharp, well done, but just doesn’t say enough about what she might do or who she is in a way that would elevate her to #2 among 21.

It’s also very much built for television, and in a crowded race with relatively low turnout, I’m not sure that’s the way to go.  Facebook is the place for short video these days, and while this is posted on Facebook, it’s clearly a 30-second spot made for TV.  I’m not sure this does enough to elevate Cary in the primary.


Nikkita Oliver

This ad is pretty solid.  It’s made for social media at 90 seconds, but if you watch it, you’ll get goosebumps.  This explains Oliver’s candidacy’s rationale clearly: she’s a fighter and she’ll fight for you.

The question is whether this will be paired with an effective social media ad buy.  Will it get pushed out to targeted voters so that it is seen?


Jenny Durkan

According to our poll, Jenny Durkan is strongly in the lead in this primary.  Consequently, it appears she’s kept a fair amount of cash rather than spend it on ads.

This recent ad is an example of that low cost approach, but it’s one that I think works.  By using other speakers as validators for Jenny’s candidacy, it grounds her as a candidate “of the people.” It shows a diverse base and that she’s got significant support.

This isn’t a groundbreaking ad, but it’s a strong ad.  It mitigates talk about Jenny being too much of an establishment candidate as it shows “man-on-the-street” interviews, and is relatively safe where being safe is probably smart.


Bob Hasegawa

Bob Hasegawa has a pretty good ad as well.  It’s about a minute long, and is in Bob’s voice.  He has good intonation, highlighting key elements of his campaign narrative.  He mentions his home in Beacon Hill, connection to unions (from his background), and shows him out doorbelling.  He even gets to mention his antagonism to big banks.

It’s got a bit of a Bernie Sanders verve to it, mostly as a result of the music.  But that’s a purposeful element, given Bob’s interest in connecting his campaign to Sanders’s 2016 race.

This ad scores some points, if it can get seen.  The long legislative session has limited Hasegawa’s ability to fundraise.  As a legislator, he is in a fundraising freeze.  We’ll see if this gets out in a meaningful way.


Jessyn Farrell

Jessyn Farrell has a good ad that connects her to working women, to her transportation background, and serves as a tool to introduce her personal charisma to voters.  Video is a good medium for her as she comes across as positive, dynamic and energetic – much more that still photos might convey.

This also packs a lot into 30 seconds.  One is left with a sense of Farrell in 30 seconds that is hard to do.  Moon’s ad let you know she was a planner, but the energy that Moon’s ad lacked is evident with Farrell.  I’m not sure I know about Farrell’s biography from this ad, other than the buses – a reference to her past that perhaps only highly informed voters know.  (She was formerly the Executive Director of the Transportation Choices Coalition.)  But, I’m left with a sense of Farrell that I outlined above:  positive, dynamic, and energetic.

If you’re a Seattle voter, and you know those things about Jessyn, you are very likely to like her…  Whether that translates to votes in a crowded field, we’ll see.


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