Analyzing the Herman Cain “smoking” ad

This is an interesting ad for students, especially journalism and PR students to spend some time with.  It is for Presidential canaidate Herman Cain and it includes a staffer talking straight into the camera (with bad lighting and framing) then, at the end of the ad taking a drag on a cigarette.  What the heck does that mean?

The Washington Post said:

Since its release earlier this week, the very viral Cain video has elicited surprise, delight, condemnation and, mostly, bafflement. The over-arching question is, what exactly does it all mean?

Is it a self-conscious attempt to flout convention? A metaphoric middle finger to cardiovascular correctness? A subliminal suggestion, as Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly put it in an interview with Block, that Cain isn’t playing to “East and West Coast elites” but to the smoking constituency? Or is it just a shiny bit of bait for the news media?

None of the above, according to Block.

“There was no subliminal message,” he told Kelly. “In fact, I personally would encourage people not to smoke. It’s just that I’m a smoker and a lot of people on the staff said, ‘Just let Block be Block.’ That’s what it’s all about.”


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