Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Coleman’s new TV ad features — Mrs. Coleman

Sen. Norm Coleman has rolled out another 30-second TV spot, his second. While the first-one was serious bordering on doleful, this one is light-hearted with background music that reminds me of a “Leave It To Beaver” score. The story is set in a kitchen. Coleman lurks in the background pouring and sipping coffee, while his wife, Laurie, does the talking, trying to preempt and rebut various things that “people will say” about her husband during a political campaign, such as that he has been “a rubber stamp for the president” or “in the pocket of big oil.”

Her evidence against such statements will get serious scrutiny as time allows. But the gag is that, as Mrs. Coleman says, “there is a special interest that Norm will answer to.” She asks him to take out the trash and he does, in a snowy alley, while smilingly approving this message. Is it me, or does the camera intentionally zoom in on Laurie Coleman’s left hand so we can see the wedding band? Check it out for yourself.

Several bloggers also notice something strange about the appearance of the ad. It looks as if the image of Laurie Coleman has been dubbed into a kitchen with Sen. Coleman in the background. I see what they’re talking about, and the interactions between them do come across as unnatural. I asked Team Coleman about it got this response, attributed to campaign communications director Erin Rath:

“These left-wing, liberal, Al Franken bloggers are as goofy a bunch as I’ve ever seen. They’ve spent too much time concocting a conspiracy theory, wasting valuable bandwidth on the Internet. The senator and his wife were both in the kitchen of their home where the commercial was filmed.”

I take them at their word, although if you read it carefully, Rath doesn’t quite rule out the possibility that Mrs. Coleman’s image was dubbed into her shots, even if they were both in the kitchen where the commercial was filmed.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (11)

  1. Submitted by Carol Sandberg on 06/21/2008 - 07:29 am.

    The next spot should show Norm outside Kowalski’s packing groceries into the trunk of a car after Mrs. C is shown in Safeway talking about supporting local food producers.

    It’s the part of a career, acting like she and Norm share a life.

  2. Submitted by Gail O'Hare on 06/20/2008 - 01:28 pm.

    For years the Coleman marriage has been rumored to be “in name only.” This spot appears to be an effort to shore up his image as a dutiful hubby who even obeys the little woman. Instead, the falseness and phony coziness screams distance. Gag.

  3. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 06/20/2008 - 01:30 pm.

    Am I wrong, or hasn’t Mrs. Coleman been living in California the last five years or so, which would necessitate the dubbing?

  4. Submitted by Aaron Landry on 06/20/2008 - 09:52 am.

    Good observation on the ring shot. Also, I’ve been enjoying the back and forth between some bloggers and the Coleman campaign regarding how it wasn’t filmed at the same time – Mrs. Coleman looks superimposed the entire time… especially in the long shot where the proportions seem off… and the lighting is a bit of a giveaway.

  5. Submitted by Karl Pearson-Cater on 06/20/2008 - 11:14 am.

    Seems like the snow in the background and Coleman wearing a jacket should have been avoided. It’s June, man! Maybe it was intended to run sooner?

    I think the ‘concept’ of the commercial was a great idea for Coleman. But bad acting (why does Coleman sipping his coffee look so… awkward?) and the question of whether Laurie Coleman has been dubbed in (the shot sure does seem baked) kinda make the intended message seem peculiar to me.

  6. Submitted by Nancy Gertner on 06/23/2008 - 05:55 pm.

    I took the snow in the alley as a sign that the commercial was filmed on the one day that both Colemans were in Minnesota this year.

    Valentine’s Day?


    Where’s the weather guy when you need him?

  7. Submitted by Mike Griffin on 06/20/2008 - 03:57 pm.

    As I would point out to film analysis students, technically speaking, the camera does not zoom in on Laurie Coleman’s left hand. There isn’t a zoom used, but a simple cut to a separate close-up shot of her left hand wrapped around the coffee mug, her ring prominently displayed.

    There is no narrative, or logical-sequential, reason for this shot to have been inserted into the ad. As part of the narrative action of the ad’s mini-story it is a non-sequitur. But it does serve the purpose of effectively drawing the viewer’s attention to her hand and ring.

    It is a common practice in film editing to create such an otherwise unrelated association between shots. So, it is no stretch, in fact pretty obvious, that the shot was made and “edited in” precisely for that purpose. It cleverly and, because of the relative brevity of the shot subtly, reaffirms the domestic relationship between Norm and Laurie that the campaign wants to promote. (Technical analysis free of charge.)

  8. Submitted by Lyn Crosby on 06/20/2008 - 11:50 pm.

    Well she is an ACTRESS, remember?!?!? (And IMHO Norm is a very good actor…..)

  9. Submitted by Sheila Ehrich on 06/20/2008 - 07:35 pm.

    I happend to catch the ring shot last night just as I turned from turning off the lights. Gave me the best laugh I’ve had in some time! I don’t think Al Franken could have scripted or shot this ad any better himself.

    And I hate to disappoint Ms. Rath, but I’m one “left-wing liberal, Al Franken” supporter who doesn’t blog and isn’t a conspiracy theroist either.

    Anyone taking odds on how fast this will be off the air??

  10. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 06/23/2008 - 11:57 am.

    Either they dubbed this or the producers did some very unusual lighting. Remember, photography is the capture of light. If you look, Norm and Laurie have different skin tones and you can even see slight color differences in the identical white mugs. The angle of the lighting is slightly different, with the shadow of Norm more horizontal and the lighting on Laurie from a higher point. There is also something wrong with the perspectie. Laurie is is in such a way thath she should be much taller with the rest of the perspective. The funny part is, with a couple who have one of the oddest “family values” ever seen in Minnesota politics, you think that they would been aware of that and made sure the two had more obvious reall interteraction than they did.

  11. Submitted by John E Iacono on 06/23/2008 - 12:43 pm.

    Having jarring elements in an ad keeps people’s attention, in my experience.

    If the intention was to present a kind of “corn pone” ad that would make people laugh without being acerbic I think it works.

    People will remember it.

Leave a Reply