This ad has a lot of information. The ad tells viewers, via a narrated slide show, about Clinton’s mother and what her mother taught her, that Clinton went to law school, that she chose to work at the children’s Defense Fund, that Clinton worked on school reform, healthcare for kids, and medical care for 9-11 first responders, that she was Obama’s Secretary of State, that she wants to strengthen families, and that she is a new grandmother. Understandably, candidates want to tell voters all about themselves, thinking that voters will base their choice on such information.
However, information doesn’t persuade.
Voters do want to know who the candidates are as people. Voters arrive at their impression of the candidates not from what candidates say but from how the candidates act and how the candidates say what they say. The specific information within the messages is much less important. When watching an ad, voters immediately and instinctively infer what kind of candidate would make an ad like that. If voters decide they like the candidate as a person, they believe the candidate will do the right thing when confronted by the issues.
What would voters infer about Clinton from this ad? Voters would conclude that she is proud of her accomplishments and that she a serious person who feels voters are interested in her lecture.
Ultimately, votes will be cast on the basis of how the choice makes voters feel. Candidates would be wise to decide now what feeling they want to promise and make that feeling the focus of their efforts. Obama promised voters a feeling of hope. Trump promises a feeling of winning for a change to people who feel they have been losing. Sanders offers voters the chance to feel like they are poking their finger in the eye of the wealthy. Clinton apparently hasn’t yet decided what feeling to promise voters. Surely she doesn’t want to promise voters that when they vote for her, they will feel like they are voting for their grade school teacher.
Her SNL appearance and her debate performance showed she can be engaging. Why not show that side in her ads?