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No Racism in McCain Spears "Celebrity" Ad

Posted by: David Kiley on August 1, 2008

I am perplexed by comments on some of the cable yack shows that the John McCain “Celebrity” ad that equates Barack Obama with shallow celebs like Paris Hilton as racist.

The argument goes that the McCain ad makers are trying to link Obama with white women the way ads against fomer Tennessee Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. showed a white woman talking about Ford as a sexy single guy.

The point of the ad was clearly to paint Obama as catnip for the cover of People Magazine, but hardly worthy of the cover of U.S. News and World Report, or BusinessWeek for that matter.

I watched the ad several times, and can;t even find a subliminal suggestion of a racist message. It’s a silly and childish ad, sure. But racist? That’s crazy.

By the way, Paris Hilton’s grandfather was not amused.

According to reports, the McCain campaign office received a furious phone call from Hilton’s grandfather, William Barron Hilton (co-chairman of the Hilton Hotel empire), who took issue with the comparison of Senator Obama to his granddaughter.

Donor records show William Hilton has given $18,400 to the McCain campaign, and $35,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in the past two years. Paris’ father, Rick Hilton, has also given $6900 to the McCain campaign.

Reader Comments

Daniel k

August 1, 2008 3:10 PM

I don't see racism in the ad, but I do see something a little more sinister. If you get past the two blondes for a second, the imagery and music suggest kind of Nazi rally. I think Paris and Britney aren't the point at all; they're the bait.

Mike Reardon

August 1, 2008 10:14 PM

My first thought was, if you are looking for a balanced view, it would be good the see the reaction to this McCain-Ad from the students and facility of the Historic Black Colleges, like Howard University, Xavier University of Louisiana or Morehouse College.

Over the next 20 years in elections they will be the targets of Ads directed at them by Republican candidates. It would be good to hear the feeling of those who might feel the offence in these ads, not just the National Media who can‘t find the offence.

And Paris should start wearing a McCain T-shirt for penance.

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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