With Mitt Romney winning five late, largely irrelevent primaries on Tuesday night, the tumultuous Republican primary season is coming to its inevitable close. Below, Adweek takes a look back at the outrageous political season that was, and some of the most unforgettable political ads from the GOP primaries.
- Family Vacation
Think National Lampoon's Vacation, just without any of the fun and way more children. We're not so sure who Rick Santorum was trying to appeal to with this advertisement. We suppose if there is a "seven kids, 2 minivans" demographic, they must've been pleased.
Easily the most outlandish of the bunch. We're told no rabbits were harmed in the making of this spot, from Herman Cain's Cain Solutions. But with an ad this bizarre, that's the least of our concerns. Cain probably had the strangest batch of ads overall.
- Armed Chinese Troops in Texas!
The title of this Ron Paul support ad from RevolutionPAC says it all. The ad asks the viewer to imagine a dystopian future in which Russian or Chinese troops set up shop in Texas, eventually resulting in "perpetual bloodshed." The commercial begins softly but ramps up the intensity quickly, ending in a powerful crescendo worthy of the best summer-blockbuster trailers. For an ad promoting anti-intervention and peace, it certainly scared the hell out of us.
Known for putting his foot in his mouth during debates, Rick Perry defied all the odds by managing to say the wrong thing in a scripted campaign ad. According to Perry during his outdoor walk 'n' talk, "there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school." Really, Rick? Really.
- When Mitt Romney Came to Town (Trailer)
At 28 minutes long, this anti-Romney opus digs deep to portray the former Massachusetts governor as a fat-cat businessman who will stop at nothing to destroy the hopes, dreams and homes of small-town Americans. Bought by Newt Gingrich's Super PAC, Winning Our Future, this is rumored to be one of the costlier ads of the primary season. It was certainly one of the most ambitious. It doesn't appear, however, that the juice was worth the squeeze.
As fearmongering goes, this Santorum ad may take the cake. Shot in the vein of any recent horror film, "Obamaville" imagines a future two years into a second Obama term, where playgrounds are abandoned, Iran is a nuclear power and the elderly stare despondently out their windows, remembering the days before their religious freedom was stolen. All that's missing are some zombies and shotguns!
- Now Is the Time for Action!
Perhaps the most buzzed-about video of the primary season, Cain's ad starts out normal enough, but ends with chief of staff Mark Block staring deeply into the soul of the viewer while dragging on a cigarette. The final shot features a dramatic head turn by Cain, who also, quite inexplicably, stares confidently back at his audience. Some said it was perfect, others said it was awkward. Either way, we're talking about it months after the fact.