Strategic Perception, Inc.

PolitiCal: Demon Sheep creator strikes again

Mark Z. Barabak
March 13, 2010

The ad man who brought us Demon Sheep -- along with King Rat and other strange political fauna -- is back with another outlandish production.

Call it Fred’s Zeppelin.

Actually, it’s Barbara Boxer -- blown up and distended to grotesque proportion -- floating malevolently over a travel-scape of California: vineyards, palm trees, sandy beaches, Victorian homes, the Golden Gate Bridge.

The ad for GOP Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina features plenty of creator Fred Davis’ trademark humor, from the ominous opening scene, which portrays the U.S. Capitol as something out of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” to the finale, in which a pin-pricked Boxer sinks ignominiously into the sea.

But there’s also plenty of venom packed into the seven-minute web spot. “A problem-solver…a problem-causer,” goes one compare-and-contrast between Fiorina and the Democratic incumbent. You can guess who is who, and which is which.

Subtle it’s not. “One who is calm and confident,” the narrator goes on, as the scene flashes on a cheery Fiorina. “Or one who is…well, not so much.” At that, fingernails drag across a chalkboard. Ouch!

Much of the ad consists of a glowing and, it should be said, highly selective portrayal of Fiorina’s business career, including her tenure as chief executive at Hewlett-Packard. You won’t hear anything about her firing by the HP board in 2005, or the precipitous decline in the company’s stock during her rocky time at the helm.

Boxer and her fellow Democrats will fill in that gap, one can be sure.

The ad is set for its unveiling Saturday at the state GOP convention in San Jose, where Fiorina is a featured luncheon speaker.

If nothing else, it ensures there will be a few laughs en route to what promises to be a fierce and ugly fall campaign, whomever the Republicans put up against the pugnacious Boxer in November. Also running on the GOP side are former Rep. Tom Campbell and Irvine Assemblyman Chuck Devore.