You don't often see television advertising for local political races in Connecticut. The reason for that is with so many cities and towns, a commercial could end up getting lost on voters with no interest.
Don't tell that to Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and challenger Luke Bronin. Both have purchased time on the air in recent days to try to reach voters on TV.
"I can’t remember the last time there were actually TV spots for the Hartford mayor’s race," said Steve Wolfberg, the creative director of Cronin and Co., Connecticut's largest advertising firm. "I can’t remember seeing them, actually."
Bronin has purchased more time on TV than Segarra at this point. That's to be expected, since his campaign has raised more than $600,000, a very high number for such a race.
Bronin's ad shows him walking around Hartford neighborhoods in casual clothes, meeting with neighbors and hearing their concerns. He mentions his plans to improve education, hire more young people and improve conditions for economic development.
Wolfberg, who has no connection to either campain, said Bronin is sticking to a tried and true script.
"It is right out of the playbook. A couple of graphics. The only thing that’s not in there is showing the other guy in demonic black-and-white stills. Maybe that will come later, but it’s really pretty typical, what you’re seeing so far," he said.
Wolfberg added that the production value of the spot is very high. He said everything has been thought out with a purpose, like lighting and imagery.
"It’s optimism. It’s saying, 'I’m going to take you to a brighter path,' perhaps. It is shot very well. Well lit. Well art directed. So I think the sub-message of that is a fresh new start with a fresh new guy, perhaps," he said.
Segarra's ad includes details from his childhood. The incumbent says he knows the experience of Hartford residents because he was raised by a single mother, his father was a victim of gun violence and he went to home hungry many nights.
"He’s basically saying, 'I am one of you.' Which is basically like saying, 'Bronin is not one of you,' which is the tack he’s taking," Wolfberg explained.
Wolfberg said each ad clearly conveys the position of each candidate in the race.
“I think it’s clear who’s the incumbent and who’s the challenger, and generally when you see the spots up to the election, that’s usually paths they usually take," he said.