Professionals may be running this week’s Democratic convention in New York, but the party’s top brass has apparently decided not to leave all its advertising to the experts. The Democratic National Committee recently ran ads in Variety, Videography, and New York’s Village Voice announcing a contest for film students and other amateurs to create 30-second TV spots about the importance of voting Democratic in November’s election. The winner will receive a $5,000 prize when the results are judged in early August (DNC ads usually start running in September). In a further affront to Madison Avenue, the judging panel, which so far includes Jonathan Demme and James L. Brooks, won’t have many ad mavens on board.
Though DNC leaders say bringing in outsiders is a way to ”open up the process to people at the grass-roots level” — a much-needed PR gimmick — maybe they’re remembering the only DNC spot created by the pros in 1988, an unmemorable lampoon of the GOP’s economic plan. But before videophiles start sharpening their points of view, they should know that the winner may never see the light of the TV tube. With the DNC short on funds, contest coordinator Walter Gottlieb admits there’s no ”guarantee that the winning entry will actually air.”