Gov. Bill Walker has struggled with his video campaign messages since launching them in May. They’ve been off-putting in different ways. None has been tone perfect.
His first video, showing him shoveling snow endlessly, focused on making fun of his critics. They were clowns, in his eyes.
His second video was spooky dark and gloomy, with a gangster vibe. His third effort was a video about a football game, but used rugby shots from the Bush Company rugby team playing in Anchorage. Awkward to include the strip-club’s rugby club.
The fourth, for Fathers Day, was a copycat video of a now-famous campaign ad from Texas. It was derivative at best.
But this week, he has an ad that actually nails it: In it, Bill Walker and his brother are shown as two working-class carpenters, coffee mugs in hand, as they travel around the state in a pickup truck that has a cracked windshield and they put up his campaign signs together. His brother narrates about their hard-scrabble upbringing, and how Bill Walker is just a carpenter-laborer who loves the state and the campaign is a family affair.
The argument is a stretch, because although Walker is handy with tools, he’s a multi-millionaire with income properties around the state and a home in Hawaii. But this is about messaging, and the message is that he is a real Alaskan:
WHAT ABOUT THE DUNLEAVY AD?
While Walker was sandbagging campaign signs along the roadways, the Dunleavy for Alaska camp has gone in a different direction, and rather than a drill, they bring a salmon to the message fight — and no candidate in sight.
The ad for Dunleavy shows you how to properly fillet a fresh-caught red salmon — one that you might catch on the Kenai this weekend, for example. The Facebook ad that rolled out Thursday evening stars radio talk show host Rick Rydell, who is a well-known fisherman, with a gleaming salmon, a work table, and a sharp knife. A river is the backdrop.
Rydell makes quick work of the salmon in less than two minutes. It’s not bloody, but it’s a one-of-a-kind campaign video that says, in essence, “We’re pretty sure you want to be fishing right now and this is how you save as much protein as you can.”
It may be the first campaign video in Alaska history that has nothing to do with elections, and everything to do with “how to hack” the Alaska way of life that Alaskans cherish. And avoid those pin bones.
One of the best Facebook comments on the Dunleavy fish fillet video was the searing observation, “Walker’s video was How to fillet a PFD in half.”
That may have been the most accurate slice of all.