Candidates spin "ghost" ads

09/12/2008 | Washington Post, The

John McCain's campaign recently made news by releasing an ad called "Lipstick" that references an ongoing imbroglio over remarks made by rival candidate Barack Obama involving a folksy witticism about the application of cosmetics to livestock. At 35 seconds long, the ad has yet to appear on TV, but it is making news because of the media's willingness to cover the back-and-forth of unaired spots released by the campaigns. The tactic of getting coverage from such "ghost ads" or "vapor ads" has been used by both candidates. Evan Tracey, head of CMAG, said: "Ten years ago, this was the number one sin between journalists and the campaign. No one [in the media] wanted to be seen as taking the campaign's bait. Now there's a willingness on the part of both parties to use and be used. There's a much bigger appetite to accept this kind of content."

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