D.A. Candidates: What their adverts reveal

Democratic Common Pleas judicial candidate Vikki Kristiansson looks like conservative bomb thrower Ann Coulter in her campaign poster. That couldn’t be deliberate, could it?

That first image that you saw is, no, not emaciated conservative bomb thrower Ann Coulter, but a separated-at-birth twin, Common Pleas Judge candidate Vikki Kristiansson.

Her campaign poster makes her look a lot like Coulter.

Intentional? I reached out, but haven’t heard back.

Anyway, she drew the second ballot position. Add that to her Democratic label, legal experience and good looks, she’s probably going to be on the bench.

As such she will be hearing from lawyers, including prosecutors from the District Attorney’s office. The Democratic  candidate to lead that office will be chosen Tuesday, by  a handful of Philadelphians. If turnout is more than 20 percent, I’ll be surprised because I looked at turnout in past “off-year” (meaning non-mayoral) elections.

By now, you may have seen TV commercials being run by several of the candidates. More of you, depending on where you live, have been receiving glossy campaign posters (suitable for framing?) in the mail.

The candidates’ (very similar) platform policies can be found on the Net, if you care to look. That’s the serious stuff. Most voters don’t bother -- they vote on the TV spots, ethnicity or what their committee person or union leader suggests.

What I’m doing here is looking at some posters as marketing tools -- how effective they are, at least to this political observer who also knows something about advertising and politics.

I got more material from Jack O’Neill than any other candidate and selected the most visually arresting -- pun intended -- one to comment on. It’s clearly a man of color, behind bars, wearing a wedding ring. (On the wrong hand, incidentally. Maybe it’s  a prison marriage thing?)

The type says O’Neill has “a plan to end Philly’s mass incarceration.” That is intended to appeal to progressives and the families of the incarcerated. Progressives believe every person in jail has been wrongly convicted.

For those of us who know the crime rate is down, and who think maybe the high incarceration rate has something to do with the  lower crime rate, he might not be a winner. (Yes, I’m aware some research says  the two rates are independent of each other. I don’t see how they can be.)

But the ad has impact -- a big graphic and a clean, simple message,

Civil rights attorney Larry Krasner has the most elaborate mailer, one that opens out, like French doors. Not everyone will open it, so that’s strike one. Next, how effective is the black, white and blue opening page?

Not so much. The word “Krasner” is set on a right angle to the rest of the text, and the large blue lettering fights with the white lettering, with white winning out. And what does the white text talk about? “Mass incarceration,” the “war on drugs,” and “targeting the poor and people of color.” This sounds like someone running for public defender.

I’m sorry to say the Michael Untermeyer mailer (slightly smaller, at 9 by 7 ½ inches than the norm) is a typographical mess.

Too much type, too many headlines, most of which criticize Seth Williams, who is not in this race. Untermeyer ought to attack his opponents. His mailer lacks color and oomph.

Another one from O’Neill is the most striking of the group. (I contacted other candidates for their mailers but got zilch.) A full color closeup of one-quarter of the face of a brown-eyed young man. Below the man’s eye is type in the shape of a teardrop reading “It’s time Philly’s victims had a voice.”

Good to be talking about victims, but the teardrop?

That’s often used by gang bangers as a tattoo to signify they’ve killed someone, or served time in jail, or been raped in jail, or to mourn a lost friend. Why use imagery associated with criminals? 

As a bonus I include an ad from City Controller candidate Alan Butkovitz -- a huge color picture of a great looking cat (even if you don't like cats) with the message,”Fat cats hate Alan Butkovitz.” Who wouldn't flip it over to find out why?

My poster is the one that shows Uncle Sam pointing at you with one word -- vote!