Here’s one positive thing you can say about this nerve-blasting election cycle: It’s attracting fresh voices into political advertising. I’ve written about the Lincoln Project—a group of prominent anti-Trump Republicans—which has produced some striking outdoor and video ads. (See more here.) Today I’m focusing on an even newer effort: Meidas Touch, which launched its first ad on April 22.
Meidas Touch—sometimes styled MeidasTouch; editorial standards appear to be a work in progress—is the project of a lawyer, a video producer, and a marketing account supervisor with gilt-edged résumés and Democratic Party affiliations. Earlier this week, an Adweek story (paywalled) introduced the team:
Created in quarantine by three brothers originally from Long Island, MeidasTouch is technically a liberal PAC but in practice a video production team staffed solely by the three siblings, with some content contributions from their 14-year-old sister. Their 20 political ads have averaged over a million views each, with the most recent hitting 5 million today on Twitter. …
The group’s name and slogan, “Because Truth Is Golden,” are a bit of dual family wordplay, blending their father’s last name, Meiselas, with their mother’s maiden name, Golden.
The name cleverly blends a pronunciation hint with a mythological reference and a suggestion of value, and coats it in filial devotion. (I’m less pleased about “content contributions” being relegated to a 14-year-old. The web copywriting in particular could benefit from a more experienced hand.)
Contribution confirmation on ActBlue, the nonprofit fundraising platform for Democrats and progressives. There’s a ™ symbol after the wordmark, but I found no evidence of a trademark application for the Meidas Touch name. That line at the bottom—well, I’ve already mentioned the organization’s editorial shortcomings.
Meidas Touch has been rolling out new ads every day or two. The group’s debut effort shamelessly borrows Ronald Reagan’s famous line from the 1980 campaign: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” Other ads target Donald Trump’s Twitter habit (this time the question is “Had enough?”) and the “carnage” of the mismanaged coronavirus pandemic (concluding with an upbeat speech by the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden). To Meidas Touch’s credit, the ads usually end with a call to action: “Vote Out Hate,” “Vote Blue,” “Wake Up America.”
In keeping with this week’s “loot” theme, here’s “The Looters,” which dropped last weekend.
From the voiceover:
While Trump disparages and threatens to shoot and kill individuals who are protesting police brutality and systemic oppression following the murder of George Floyd, calling them looters, we must not forget who the real looters are. The real looters are Donald Trump, his family, and the grifter-politicians who support and prop up this historically corrupt administration for the benefit of billionaires and not the people.
Meidas Touch is far from the only brand to draw on the King Midas myth. I counted more than 140 live MIDAS trademarks in the US Patent and Trademark Office database, the oldest of which belongs to the auto-repair chain Midas International. When it was founded in 1956 in Macon, Georgia, the company was called Midas Muffler; the name was backronymized as Muffler Installation Dealers' Associated Service. Its slogan: “Trust the Midas touch.”
What all of the Midas brands ignore, or overlook, is that the Midas story is a tragedy. Because everything King Midas touches turns to gold, he’s unable to eat or drink. When his daughter complains that the roses in the garden have become cold and hard, the king reaches out to comfort her, and she turns into an inanimate golden statue. The moral: Avarice is deadly, and happiness comes from simple pleasures and human—not golden—touch.