Grading the Gabrieli ads

So, two TV spots from the Wonkish One started running today. "Change" takes an Erroll Morris-esque tack, with Gabrieli looking directly at the camera and giving his spiel to voters (Massachusetts is stuck, he doesn't have all the answers but does have lots of ideas, etc.). Every few seconds, the screen goes black and a catch phrase we're supposed to remember about Gabrieli--"Solving Problems," "New Ideas," and later, in case we missed the point the first time, "Solves Problems...Gets Results"--appears on screen. Nice and basic.

At first, "Principal" feels disappointingly conventional after the stripped-down feel of "Change." As Mary Russo--Massachusetts principal of the year in '04!--talks about enlisting Gabrieli's help in setting up an after-school program, the guitar strumming kicks in, and you're like, "Oh boy, here comes the cheese-fest." But then, as Gabrieli talks about the high stakes of education today ("We have to think differently and smarter for the 21st Century, to give kids the kind of skills they need"), there's a kick-ass shot of bunch of kids sitting at their desks and looking back expectantly toward the camera. I know I'm getting carried away here, but the combo of Gabrieli's comments and this image totally rules. There's some more stuff toward the end about Chris Gabrieli and results, or something, but I couldn't stop thinking about those tots!

GRADE: A. Taken as a package, these two ads are terrific. They portray Gabrieli as a smart, humble, no-B.S. dude and play up his education credentials, which might be his best selling point. As an added plus, they're also quick and punchy.
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