Bigfoot Tries to Get Footage of an Elusive Congressman in This Enjoyably Odd Political Ad

Democratic challenger paints incumbent as inaccessible

Bigfoot goes looking for proof of a GOP congressman's existence in Democrat Dean Phillips' new ad. Dean Phillips for Congress
Headshot of David Griner

Congressional hopeful Dean Phillips, a Democrat running in Minnesota, says Republican incumbent Erik Paulsen is so detached from his home district, he’s practically impossible to find.

So Phillips turned to someone who knows a thing or two about hiding from the public eye: Bigfoot.

The hirsute mythological figure stars in a light-hearted spin on the traditional political attack ad, sarcastically showing  Bigfoot as jealous of the congressman’s ability to hide in plain sight.

“How can you have tens of thousands of people looking for you all the time and not one of them find you?” asks a clearly impressed Bigfoot. “I started to wonder, does Erik Paulsen really exist?”

In the 80-second mockumentary, we see Bigfoot attempt to track Paulsen with a camera, eventually ending up at a pharmaceutical company—part of the ad’s primary dig that Paulsen takes money from Big Pharma and votes in favor of the industry’s interests.

Patrick Hunt and Doug Adkins of Hunt Adkins worked in an individual volunteer capacity with the Phillips for Congress team to create the concept. Jim Stanger of Channel Z directed the spot and Greg Winter served as director of photography.

As the midterm election cycle prepares to enter its intense final weeks, it’s nice to have a spot that, while certainly still partisan and negative, sets aside the frothy rancor and has some fun with how it criticizes the incumbent for not making himself accessible enough to voters via town halls and other appearances.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Bigfoot has come up in politics lately. In a Virginia state house race, a Democrat accused her Republican opponent of being a “devotee of Bigfoot erotica” after spotting several of his social media posts about working on a book supposedly titled, “Mating Habits of Bigfoot and Why Women Want Him.”

In the Minnesota race, Phillips seems to have gained an edge over his five-term opponent. Data analysis site FiveThirtyEight estimates Phillips currently has a 79 percent chance of beating Paulsen on Nov. 6.

Sharing the new ad on Twitter, Phillips’ campaign account described it as “a little dose of humor based on fact: a Congressman who avoids voters at all costs, is the 6th biggest taker of PAC money in Congress and is bought and sold by special interests.”

Paulsen’s campaign has not responded to the ad, but hopefully they’ll fire back with a response ad starring the Loch Ness Monster and/or a chupacabra.

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."