The Ditech Factor

The Ditech Factor September 26, 2003

I don't like the Ditech Guy.

You probably don't either. Then again, I'm not sure we're supposed to like him. The mortgage lender seems to be taking the annoying-is-better-than-ignored advertising strategy in their omnipresent ads on CNN. (Is this a regional thing, or does everyone have to endure a barrage of Ditech ads whenever watching cable news?) I suppose this strategy works, or else — like spammers — they wouldn't do it.

The problem with the Ditech ads isn't only that they're shrill and overbroad, but that they just … keep … coming … at … you. They're inescapable, but after a half-hour or so of CNN all I want to do is escape them.

All of which gives me hope for the 2004 election.

George W. Bush is raising millions upon millions of dollars for his campaign. He's on his way to surpassing his goal of $170 million just for the primary campaign — a contest in which he's running unopposed. The conventional wisdom is that more money means more TV spots, and more TV spots means victory at the polls. But George W. Bush has raised so much more money than any previous candidate that I'm not sure the conventional wisdom applies.

How on earth do you spend $170 million? One thing you do is buy ads. Lots and lots and lots of ads.

During 2004, George W. Bush will be just as inescapable a presence on TV as the Ditech Guy. And therein lies his problem.

Sure, $170 million will let the Bush campaign air tons of attack ads — more than the Democratic candidate will be able to afford to refute. But the sheer volume of ads will itself become a story — one that creates free media interview opportunities for his opponent.

And no matter how effective Bush's TV ads are, if he runs as many as he can afford, the barrage may — like the Ditech ads — end up alienating more people than it attracts. Bush's campaign ads will become the TV equivalent of spam.

Potential conversation from October, 2004:

"Who is that whiny guy in all those ads?"

"The Ditech Guy?"

"No, the other one."

"President Bush?"

"Yeah, him. I hate him."

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