If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Andrew Forgione is going to get a big head this election season. When the campaign videos for the 2012 USC presidential candidates were released just after midnight on Tuesday morning, it was clear that Forgione’s campaign methods wouldn’t soon be forgotten.
Right off the bat, third-year Science student, Logan Ross, used a segment of Forgione’s famous Ducksauce tribute in her campaign video; but Ross isn’t the only one to take something away from Forgione’s successful run. All the other candidates—fifth-year Social-Sci student Claire McArthur, fourth-year Huron student Adam Fearnall, and fourth-year FIMS student Jon Silver—are all guilty of using the “Forgione Formula.”
What does this formula entail? The basics: A catchy musical accompaniment, impressive editing, and a montage of laughs and good times with a number of notable Western students. However confident of the Formula these candidates are, there do exist inherent flaws.
Let’s start with the music. The logic behind this decision is sound, running with the notion that if the song gets stuck in my head, I’ll remember the candidate. But a distinction should be made between remembering a candidate, and voting for a candidate. Of course, they risk the song becoming more annoying than memorable. If the song is the most prominent part of the video (which, in the Forgione Formula, it always is) then voters can grow to despise the song and avoid all future screenings of the video like it were the plague, something Ms. McArthur might not have considered.
Next up, the editing. All the videos feature visually stimulating effects (some nearing epileptic levels) and, with the exception of Ross’ Rick Mercer Rant, shared a very specific editing technique in which the candidate walks toward the camera as the background changes. Now, before anyone starts hypothesising who had the idea first, you should know it was none of them. The concept has been around for a while, most notably in a video sponsored by STA Travel released just last August. It will forever be unknown who thought of utilizing this technique first, but in a time when the candidates should be distinguishing themselves from one another, this is an unfortunate step back.
And finally, a key ingredient: the Interchangeable Elites. This is perhaps the worst aspect of the Forgione Formula because it not only follows the logic that having a popular person in your video will lead to a popular campaign, but it also overlooks a significant portion of Western students—the frosh. Candidates should be reaching out to first-years, many of whom are excited about their first Western election. Instead, they are left to watch sixty seconds of laughing strangers.
By following the Forgione Formula, a candidate is left with an impressive video with high entertainment value. This, we should be be reminded, is a competition to find the next president of the USC, not Canada’s next great videographer.
Though all candidates have leadership experience to widely varied degrees and some mildly creative platform points (Ross being the only one to note any in her video), this information mostly took a back seat once again. The mitZine urges you to disregard the videos and look into the platforms. The only information you’ll derive from the campaign videos is that they all have friends, a computer, and can walk in a straight line.
Stay tuned to the mitZine Online this week for some analysis on the presidential candidate platforms.