Ad: “Change”


Voiceover: “Nashville, we need a change: Alice Rolli for mayor.”

Rolli: “Nashville is ready for the right kind of change. This is our chance to get our city back on track. Moving a desk from the council floor to the mayor’s office won’t fix Nashville. But a new vision, a shared purpose and your support can. I’m Alice Rolli and I’m running for mayor.”

Voiceover: “Alice Rolli, the change we need for Nashville.”

Analysis: Rolli concentrated her TV resources before the Aug. 3 election on cable, spending exclusively on commercials on the Fox News Channel. Now in the last week before Election Day, she debuted a new ad on broadcast stations with an almost $60,000 buy on WKRN-Ch. 2, WSMV-Ch. 4 and WTVF-NewsChannel 5. This ad, which uses the word change three times in 30 seconds, positions Rolli as something different and opponent Freddie O’Connell as a continuation of the last three elections, which have vaulted someone from the council chamber to the mayor’s office. “Moving a desk from the council floor to the mayor’s office won’t fix Nashville,” Rolli says. She’s used this line for months and the elegant metaphor of the desk always seems to soften the criticism that continuing to elect Metro Council members is, in her view, a problem for the city. (Side note: Elegance is rarely rewarded in 30-second political spots). The ad also implies that the city has a major crime problem, judging by the chyron on the TV news broadcast in the opening shot. But that’s as close as Rolli gets to talking about crime or taxes, her two biggest points of emphasis in the election. There’s no attack on O’Connell for voting for John Cooper’s 34 percent tax increase or his vote against license plate readers that police said they need. In fact, there’s no direct contrast at all with her opponent. It has the look of a safe closing ad by a candidate who is 20 points up instead of one who, by some measures, might be 20 points behind in the last week of the campaign. 

Where it’s running: Broadcast TV

Steve is a three-decade veteran of newspapers, working around the country at places like the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune before returning home to Nashville in 2011 to edit The City Paper and Nashville...