- Ad Wars of 2016 Campaign Erupt in a Changing TV Arena
- Governors Join in Creating Regional Pacts on Climate Change
- Ad War Breaks Out Between Jeb Bush and John Kasich
- John Kasich Super-PAC Borrows Trump-like Helicopter for New TV Ad
- Staffing Up: John Kasich's Super-PAC Hires Fred Davis as Media Strategist
- Mark Halperin and John Heilemann are joined by Democratic strategist Bob Shrum, Republican strategist Fred Davis and author Jon Meacham on "With All Due Respect."
- This episode of Bloomberg TV's "With All Due Respect" was shot at the Hollywood offices of Strategic Perception Inc.
- Mark Halperin and John Heilemann are joined by New Day for America's Fred Davis on "With All Due Respect."
- Why Fred Davis is going to miss John Kasich
- Outside GOP group goes in big for Shuster
- Pennsylvania ad: Kasich doesn't quit
- Pro-Kasich ad hints Trump, Cruz are 'crazy'
- Drones fly into the political ad wars
- O'Donnell taps Davis for ad magic
- Can McCain's Ads Win an Oscar?
- This new anti-Ted Cruz ad is creeptastic
- New Day for America: "Kelly's courage"
- John Kasich — remember him? — is on the rise in New Hampshire
- Kasich taps two veteran advisers for expected presidential campaign
- The Fix: This is the ad that won David Perdue the Georgia Senate nomination
- The Fix: Jon Huntsman to resign from Obama administration
- A tour of a political ad guru's viral hits for the GOP
- The Fix: McCain ad mentioned as the best negative ad to date in the 2010 cycle
- The Fix: The best ads we've seen so far in the 2010 midterms
- The Fix: Are Primaries A Good Thing?
- Race, Celebrity and the Presidential Campaign
- McCain Expands Campaign Media Team
- ONE Campaign Hits Airwaves
- Brand on the Run
- Super PAC supporting John Kasich runs Trump-inspired ad
- CBS Sunday Morning: 2010's Campaign Scare Tactics
- Washington Unplugged: G.O.P. Ad Maker Fred Davis Interviewed by Bill Plante
- Hot Ads of the Week: GOP Challengers Hitting Dems Hard
- Political Attack Ads Hit the Net
- Politics: Super PAC Contrasts Kasich With Trump in New Ad
- The GOP's Hottest Mad Man
- Best Viral Campaign Ads of 2010
- The Anti-Obama Campaign That Didn't Happen
- Halperin's Take: The Five Most Important People in American Politics Not Running for President
- For Kasich, New Hampshire Presence Is Paying Off
- The Problem With Illinois Politics? It's the Hair (Blagojevich's, That Is)
- As Economic Crisis Peaked, Tide Turned Against McCain
- McCain Team Scrambles to Rescript Show
- Kasich PAC Won't Go Negative in New TV Ad Despite South Carolina's Dirty Politics Reputation
- McCain Beefs Up Ad Roster for General Election
- California Governor's 'Backwards' Spot a Masterpiece
- Kasich super-PAC ad features "The Hug" — and Tim Allen.
- Kasich hires strategist known for provocative campaign ads.
- Kasich super PAC secures top adman Fred Davis ahead of possible '16 bid
- Fracking wars hit the silver screen with supporters' film "Truthland"
- CNN Reliable Sources: How political ads get inside your head
- CNN Politics Political Ticker: Pro-Huntsman effort launches website, offering 2012 clues
- John King with Fred Davis: Political ads to remember
- GOP's ad wizard faces 'demons,' supports 'nerds'
- GOP ad "guru" Fred Davis
- John King's Political Fact Check
- Exclusive — Colorado Senate Ad Compares Illegal Immigration to Exploding Toilet, D.C. Dysfunction to Proctology Exam
- Georgia's Senate Race Has the Best Ads of 2014 (So Far)
- Meet David Perdue — He Might Be Georgia's Next Senator
- David Perdue Portrays GOP Primary Opponents As Crying Babies In Campaign Ad
- California Senate: How Carly Fiorina Pulled Off Her Big "Upset" in the GOP Primary
- Georgia on my mind: Jim Galloway on the 2014 Georgia Senate race
- THE DAILY RUNDOWN: Mad Man — the makings of a good political ad
- THE DAILY RUNDOWN: SPI once again makes the Top Ten
- THE DAILY RUNDOWN: Nobody does viral ads better than Fred Davis
- FIRST READ: Top 10 TV ads
- CBS News, Political Hotsheet
Hot Ads of the Week: GOP Challengers Hitting Dems Hard
- Los Angeles Times, Top of the Ticket
As Obama hits the campaign trail, "Mourning in America" ad greets him, recalling the Reagan era
- The Washington Examiner
It's "Mourning in America"
- The Register-Guard
"Mourning in America" ad brilliantly taps Reagan magic
- Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor
Alabama Gubernatorial Candidate Tim James Defends Controversial 'Learn English' Ad
- Mobile Press-Registry
Breaking News: Gubernatorial candidate Tim James' ad ignites Alabama GOP primary
- Fox News Sean Hannity
Frank Luntz Focus Groups the "Language" Ad on Hannity
- The Washington Post
Morning Fix: The Boxer blimp, the Demon Sheep and Fred Davis
- Los Angeles Times
PolitiCal: Demon Sheep creator strikes again
- SF Weekly
The Snitch: Adman Behind 'Demon Sheep,' Boxer Blimp Has No Idea How He'll Top This
- Yahoo News
Bizarre attack ad heats up California Senate race
- National Review Online Weekend
Demon-Sheep Strategist Says More Ads to Come
The GOP Mastermind of Carly Fiorina's Demon-Sheep Ad
- Los Angeles Times
Fiorina's 'demon sheep' creator speaks
"Mourning in America"
The Tim James "Language" Spot
Carly Fiorina's Barbara Boxer Blimp Campaign
Carly Fiorina's Demon Sheep Campaign
Gubernatorial candidate Tim James' ad ignites Alabama GOP primary
Breaking News from the Press-Register
May 2, 2010
(This video is no longer available on YouTube.)
It dropped like a bomb on the Alabama political landscape, exploded across the Internet and raised a national ruckus over a governor's race that until now had scarcely drawn a yawn from many state voters.
All in a day's work for Fred Davis, the Hollywood guru behind Tim James' "Language" advertisement, which has been viewed more than 1.2 million times -- and counting -- on YouTube, AOL and Yahoo Web sites.
"One can always hope, and for sure I knew there could be some controversy, but you never expect this," said Davis, the creative consultant who wrote and produced the ad.
The 30-second spot features James saying that, as governor, he'd end the state's practice of offering driver's license exams in more than a dozen languages.
"This is Alabama. We speak English. If you want to live here, learn it," James says in his Alabama drawl. "We're only giving that test in English, if I'm governor."
The ad is one of a series in James' "Common Sense" campaign theme, and was launched on TV networks statewide April 19. The fireworks arrived immediately.
"The ethnic coding in the ad is unmistakable, especially because it's not the type of thing that voters in Alabama would care about unless someone deigned to bring it to their attention," wrote Marc Ambinder, political editor for The Atlantic magazine.
"We're getting criticized by all the right people," responded Davis, a Tulsa native who runs Strategic Perception Inc. from an office in the Hollywood Hills. "People are noticing. That's exactly what we intended."
James was grilled about the ad during an interview Thursday on "The O'Reilly Factor," a Fox News political talk show.
"The question in political terms is, are you pandering to anti-immigrant sentiments in order to try to advance what's been a very faltering campaign?" asked guest host Juan Williams.
"What's happening here is we've just made a common sense point, and I have come under attack from the far, far left," James replied. "This is nothing more than political correctness gone amuck."
That same day, James was mocked by CNN's Rick Sanchez and Alabama's own Paul Finebaum. But the ads, he said, ignited his campaign.
James, a Greenville businessman and the son of former Gov. Fob James, has lagged behind Republican rivals Bradley Byrne and Roy Moore in a variety of polls over the past few months. But with less than a month until the June 1 primary, several experts now view the contest as a tight, three-way race that could be headed for a runoff.
"Can you feel it turning?" an energized James said in a recent stump speech in Mobile. "A year ago they didn't give us a chance. Look at us now."
Timing played a part. The language ad coincided with a national outcry over immigration in Arizona, where Gov. Jan Brewer last week signed a new law criminalizing illegal immigration by defining it as trespassing.
But Davis, described by Time magazine as a "viral video mastermind," said the James ad was conceived long before the Arizona controversy. The campaign conducted surveys in 2008 to identify issues of concern to Alabama voters.
"We came up with a list of about 25 complaints, and we gave that to Tim and said, 'Tell us what you'd do to solve these problems,'" Davis said. "What you see in the ad is basically what he told us."
A previous ad shows James lambasting trial lawyers; the next installment, scheduled to hit state airwaves on Monday, takes on pedophiles.
The ads may be unorthodox, but they're tame compared to some of Davis' other recent work.
His psychedelic ad for U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina in California is already a political legend, and previous spots have depicted grizzled Oklahoma convicts dancing in pink tutus and former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes as a giant rat with a gold crown.
The James ads, filmed in early March at James' home in Greenville, have been criticized for their tone as much as their content. James' slow-talking style and long, awkward pauses have raised comparisons to another Alabama icon -- Forrest Gump.
"All he's lacking is an appearance by Lieutenant Dan," cracked James Anderson, a Democratic candidate for attorney general.
Davis said the halting style was by design.
"The point is, did you listen to what he said? Did you mention it to a friend?" Davis said. "It makes you notice. And it shows Tim for what he is -- a serious candidate who is ready to lead the state."