Modern Day Propaganda

A look at some of California's most entertaining political commercials.

20 photos
Renee Coleman
Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina’s infamous “demon sheep” ad targeting Tom Campbell, a Republican challenger. A few highlights: The opening verses “Purity. Piety.” Sheep on pedestals being struck down by lightning. A DEMON SHEEP with a mask over its face and menacing red eyes! Arggh! Followed by a long spiel from what just might be the voice of God. Click here to watch the video.
Keydrin Franklin
The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee had a witty response for that one, featuring sheep Carly -- complete with pearls and wig. Look out, it’s “Demon Sheep 2: The Fleecing Of California!” Click here to watch the video.
Kim Chapman
But Carly just won’t stop. She responds with a seven minute long beast featuring a swelling Barbara Boxer head-blimp floating over our beloved state. Then a sudden mise-en-scene change, and the movie’s focus switches from a menacing Boxer to a smiling Fiorina. Click here to watch the video.
Republican candidate for governor Meg Whitman also doesn’t skimp on the hate campaign: She created a whole website dedicated to the failure of her gubernatorial rival, Democrat Jerry Brown. The website is lovingly titled” “Jerry Brown: A lifetime Of Politics, A Legacy Of Failure.” That’s nice, Meg.
Didn’t get the message? Then watch the Jerry Brown Fail video. The word “failure” is repeated six times here, accompanied by footage of Jerry Brown’s political life. This ad stirred up some controversy: The Cal Chamber of Commerce UC president Mark Yudof reportedly denounced the ad, stating, "I want to make absolutely clear that I was not aware of this ad. I did not and do not approve of it." Click here to watch the video.
But let’s not count Meg’s opponents out of the fun either. Some of their anti-Meg propaganda is just downright bizarre. And creepy. Take this computer-generated Meg Whitman parody. We were too busy reeling from the vid’s scary visuals to pay attention to the anti-Meg message. Click here to watch the video.
Another anti-Meg ad campaign, this time courtesy of the California Nurses Association, has created a whole video series casting Meg as a diabolical, selfish queen. We think this might be taking things a little bit too far… especially since no one wants to watch more than thirty minutes of cringe-worthy acting and role-playing. Click here to watch the video. And it gets better… They have a website too!
While we’re on the subject of outrageous governor bids, former prospective Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Richard Aguirre attacks rival Jerry Brown in a pretty entertaining commercial. We don’t know what we love more about it, the Hawaiian shirt/ shorts combo outfit, the pretend-surfing, or the hair. Probably the hair. His mother also obviously never told him that pointing was impolite. Click here to watch the video.
And here we have more from The California Nurses! This ad reportedly caused a big stir among Republicans, who claimed it crossed the line with a dead McCain reference. The video features a heart monitor image above a photograph of McCain which eventually tapers to a straight line. Hmm. Maybe. We just know that music that cheesy is never appropriate. Click here to watch the video.
This is another bizarre video, backing Chuck Devore’s unsuccessful 2010 bid for the US Senate. Here, Chuck claims he knows 24’s Jack Bauer—yeah, like in real life. Also, he wants to retire Barbara boxer, but he needs to mow his lawn first. And patch his leaky roof. Then… we don’t get it either. Click here to watch the video.
And of course, Megan Fox has to join in on all the fun too! A must see for its cringe-worthiness, Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green star in this recent Funny or Die video addressing recent Californian budget cuts. Click here to watch the video.
Now, moving on to the Prop 8 period, which produced a ton of viral commercials. This one tops the charts for its sheer outrageousness: The Nation For Marriage organization starts off on the right foot by comparing gay people to a scary, gathering storm: Click here to watch the video.
There were lots of rebuttals from the other end, but this one could count as the most extravagant: A star-studded Funny Or Die “No On 8” commercial. We’re not sure this had any effect on changing the minds of Prop 8 supporters, but it sure is hilarious. Click here to watch the video.
This ad is not necessarily funny, but it sure made an impact. Featuring San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom’s now infamous words on gay marriage: “The Door’s wide open now, and it’s going to happen, whether you like it or not,” the ad reportedly facilitated a significant shift in support of Prop 8 among the general republic, and also put a tarnish on Newsom’s image. Click here to watch the video.
Here’s another funny No on Prop 8 ad: It warns you that if Prop 8 is passed, yes, you will be letting the government into your pants. Click here to watch the video.
Susan Jones
We just had to put Cruz Bustamante’s 2006 ad for California Insurance Commissioner up here. How could you not love a 30 second ad that begins with “I was really fat?” Click here to watch the video.
The Courage Commission ran an ad in 2008 with all the workings of a successful luxury commercial... only for us to discover at the last minute that it’s a satire comparing the Republican party to a yacht party. Hey, we want to join this yacht party too! Click here to watch the video.
Their other satire, titled “Arnold Bucks,” features an indignant citizen trying to pay his living expenses with governor Schwarzenegger’s “IOU”s, and it’s pretty over the top. Actually, we just like the idea of Arnold bucks. Click here to watch the video.
Arnold’s own summer ‘09 ad on the California budget is not particularly outrageous as such, but we really like his accent—and that ominous music. Click here to watch the video.
Tom Jansen
But we’ve got to save the best for last. Porn star Mary Carey’s 2003 run for governor ended far too soon if this video is any indication. Yeah, we also had a hard time believing this was real. Click here to watch the video.
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